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'My brother told us about BJP MP's role'

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Last updated on: June 18, 2018 16:20 IST
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'The CM was in Gorakhpur when this attempt to murder took place on my brother.'
'I waited for two days to see what action the police takes, but after 48 hours, the police has not even questioned Paswan.'

Photograph: PTI Photo

In August last year Dr Kafeel Khan became a saviour for several children during the BRD Medical College tragedy in Uttar Pradesh in which 63 children died due to encephalitis and alleged disruption of liquid oxygen supply.

Dr Khan was hailed as a hero after he reportedly bought oxygen cylinders with his own money during the crisis.

However, within hours, he was cast as the villain after the Ajay Singh Bisht government in UP charged him with taking leave without permission on the day of the oxygen shortage and not informing his superiors.

Dr Khan was sacked and jailed after being been booked on charges of 'attempt to murder'.

After spending seven months in jail, the Allahabad high court granted Dr Khan bail in April.

Even as his life was limping back to normalcy, another tragedy struck him on June 10.

His brother Kashif Jameel was shot at by unidentified motorbike-borne assailants.

After waiting for more than a week for arrests to be made in the case, Dr Khan on Sunday, June 17, blamed a Bharatiya Janata Party MP for being behind the attack on his brother.

According to the ANI news agency, Dr Khan alleged that Kamlesh Paswan -- the BJP MP from Bansgaon -- had engineered the attack as he wanted to take over a piece of land belonging to his uncle.

"Kamlesh Paswan thought the government was against me and wanted to grab my ancestral property," Dr Khan alleged in an interview to Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

Paswan -- see box below -- told Rediff.com, "Dr Kafeel is twisting facts, but I will not let him do it. I will file a defamation case against him."

 

When we spoke last week you said you had no idea who shot your brother. Now you are accusing a BJP MP. What made you change your mind?

Dr Kafeel Khan: They made me a scapegoat in the children's death tragedy at BRD hospital, Gorakhpur.

I was in jail for nine months. So, MP Kamlesh Paswan thought the government was against me and therefore wanted to grab my ancestral property located in a prime location.

When I was in jail, in February, even at that time he tried to grab our property.

An FIR (first information report) was registered against him then. He gave an application to the court that he would surrender, but since it was during the Gorakhpur by-polls (no action was taken).

He got away with it.

This time he tried to kill my brother.

My brother told us that a final decision in the ongoing case over our ancestral property was to come on June 13. Therefore, he was attacked on June 10.

Has this court decision come?

No. It is postponed to June 20.

Why are you bringing up Paswan's name now after keeping quiet for a week?

Because my brother told us about Paswan only now.

Earlier he was in a coma-kind of situation. He has come out of that and now he has given his statement to the police.

He gave this statement on June 15 and the police registered his complaint.

I waited for two days to see what action the police takes, but after 48 hours, the police has not even questioned Paswan.

The police must ask him why my brother is saying such things.

What you are saying about the BJP MP could land you in a defamation case.

In February, he tried to grab our land.

His shooters warned my brother and told him earlier that he should dispose of the land by taking some money or they will shoot him.

There is CCTV footage from February when these goons came to grab our land.

This is not some fictitious story.

If you know any journalist in Gorakhpur you ask them.

After my press conference, three-four other victims have come out in the open against Paswan and accused him of being a land-grabber.

In September 2017, my uncle met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (alkso known as Ajay Singh Bisht) and gave him a letter stating that these people want to grab our land and our lives are in danger.

It looks like it has now become a war between you and the BJP.

Why did they put me behind bars for nine months?

The fault was of those sitting in Lucknow, they did not pay money due to which 60 children lost their lives.

After that they are harassing me. They have not revoked my suspension so far. Nor are they reinstating me in my job.

They prevented me from going to Kerala when I wanted to go for treating the Nipah virus.

The CM was in Gorakhpur when this attempt to murder took place on my brother.

This incident happened when the chief minister was just 500 metres away.

The most horrible part was what the police did when my brother was shot.

When the doctors were saying it was an emergency and wanted to remove the bullets from my brother's body, the police delayed the case by four hours.

Can a suspension order be revoked when the case is sub judice?

There is a clear guideline from the Supreme Court that they have to finish departmental inquiry in three months.

In my case, it is more than 10 months. They are just delaying my re-joining order.

Do you feel there is a personal vendetta against you?

I was sent to jail only because of personal vendetta.

The high court, while giving me bail, said the Uttar Pradesh government could not produce a single evidence against me.

So why then was I sent to jail?

It was only personal (vendetta), therefore I was sent to jail.

If not, then they (the Uttar Pradesh government) wanted to save the skin of their own people.

But what will they gain by targeting you or your family?

I am determined to get all the culprits who were responsible for the deaths of the children in Gorakhpur hospital behind bars.

Sixty children died because they (the administration) did not pay Rs 60 lakh to the vendors.

I am going to court against them. They are worried as this will open a Pandora's box.

Manish Bhandari (who supplies oxygen to Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College) wrote 14 letters to the health minister and chief minister, but nobody took this issue seriously

The charge against you is that you siphoned off the oxygen cylinders for your private practice and therefore this tragedy happened.

BRD Medical College supplies liquid oxygen that runs through pipelines.

How can someone steal liquid oxygen? You cannot steal it.

It is a 200-foot-tall tank which contains around 30,000 litre of liquid oxygen.

This was a fictitious story spread about me.

What about your private practice?

Even a police investigation could not find out that I had a private practice.

Even the court said the same thing.

I had my own private practice before I joined BRD Medical College.

They can say whatever they want. You can see the court order and find out that the Uttar Pradesh government could not prove a single charge against me.

People were calling you a hero, but overnight you became a villain.

I was doing only my duty.

It is the journalists who made me a hero and it is they who made me a villain.

They had to make some story and they made a story out of my life.

How is your family coping during this crisis?

Financially I am broke and so is my family.

Logon se maang maang kar kaam chala rahen hai (I am begging from people to meet my household expenses).

I am also running around government offices, requesting them to reinstate me in my job.

What do they say? 

The officers meet me and say they have sympathy for me, but then they add one line: They cannot do anything as there is pressure from higher office, they cannot help me.

And I have no idea who is sitting in the higher posts.

'Dr Kafeel is twisting facts'

After being accused by suspended BRD Medical College paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan of being responsible for the attack on his brother Kashif Jameel, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kamlesh Paswan counters the allegations saying the suspended doctor is a liar and that he will file a defamation case against him.

"His allegations are totally baseless. He had levelled these allegations against me in the past too. He is a controversial man. He is responsible for the deaths of children as he was responsible for the ward at the BRD hospital where they were admitted," says the BJP MP.

"He is out on bail and has been suspended. He has no proof of his innocence in this case. Children died because of his carelessness."

"He says the land belongs to his uncle. If that land belonged to his uncle, why is he fighting the case?" Paswan asks.

"Let his uncle fight it. There was an inquiry against me and the police could find no proof against me."

"His brother was shot over five days ago, and he kept quiet for so long. After five days he has come out and said that Kashif claims Kamlesh Paswan may be involved in the shootout."

"The media does not know anything about Dr Kafeel's background. I have all the facts."

"As far as the allegation about CCTV footage is concerned, his boundary wall fell down. I don't deny that. The people he is accusing weren't even present at the spot."

"I was never told to surrender in court, as he is claiming."

"He is a liar and wants to divert attention from the case of the children's deaths with the help of the Samajwadi Party," alleges Paswan.

"Dr Kafeel is twisting facts, but I won't let him do it. I am going to file a defamation case against him."

"From the time (Congress President) Rahul Gandhi and the BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party ) started supporting him, he is trying to twist the case of the Gorakhpur children's deaths by trying to trap me in this land grab case."

"I have been in politics for the last 22 years, but never captured any land."

"If he wants to become a politician, let him become one, but not level these baseless allegations against me."

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf / Rediff.com
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