Controversial doctor’s loyalists making all-out efforts to convince global fraternity of his innocence
Pankaj Kumar | October 7, 2014
Dr Ketan Desai, the former Medical Council of India (MCI) president who has faced corruption charges in several court cases, is now set to head the World Medical Association (WMA) for 2016.
However, a final hurdle remains, and his name has to be cleared at the general body meeting is taking place during October 8-11 in Durban, South Africa. His loyalists are sparing no efforts to ensure his appointment with a campaign to persuade the global fraternity of doctors that Desai is not what he is made out to be, and none of the charges against him has led to a conviction.
Of late, Dr Ajay Kumar, a WMA council member who is also in-charge of administration and the grievance cell of the MCI, has written several emails to WMA secretary general Dr Otmar Kloiber, replying to the allegations made against Dr Desai in the Indian press and especially by NRI doctor and activist Dr Kunal Saha, who heads an NGO called People for Better Treatment.
Dr Kloiber wrote to Dr Kumar on September 29, “I have read more than a hundred press clippings since early summer 2010. It appears that by most of these carry the handwriting of Dr Saha, if they are not directly copied from his texts.”
He further wrote, “I see the obvious discrepancies in the factual presentations in the press and note with disappointment that no journalist has been trying to resolve these discrepancies. No journalist has even highlighted them.”
Dr Kloiber further advised that whenever the Indian media made allegations against Dr Desai without substantiation, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and others should raise the issue before editors of channels/newspapers.
Clearly, this email makes it clear that the WMA secretary general is convinced about Dr Desai’s honesty. Yet, he has advised Dr Kumar and IMA president Dr Jitendra B Patel to come prepared with precise information regarding current state of affairs vis-a-vis Desai so that the WMA members at the general assembly can be convinced.
In response, Dr Kumar wrote: “The judiciary of India has not found him guilty of any crime in last 12 years since the government started accusing him of one after another wrongdoing. The verdict of the members of the medical profession of India is unanimously in his favour. This reflects in the election results of the IMA of more than 200,000 members.”
The Desai camp’s strategy is to show a letter from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) dated April 22, 2014 to prove that he has come out clean after all the investigations.
“Dr Ketan Desai has been exonerated from all the charges and he is an uncrowned king of the medical fraternity. The whole IMA is solidly behind him and we will present our case firmly in front of WMA to install Dr Desai as a president,” said Dr Patel.
As for Dr Saha’s campaign against Dr Desai, Dr Patel said, “What credentials does Kunal Saha have? He got 118 votes in the West Bengal medical graduate constituency elections for the MCI membership, when the winner and the runner-up got 16,000 votes and 4,000 votes respectively.”
And if nothing works, the Desai camp is prepared for a threat too. In his latest communication to Dr Otomer on October 1, Dr Kumar wrote, “We would present ourselves in front of the general assembly for final hearing. If you think the IMA is not worthy of the membership of WMA under the undisputed leadership of Dr Ketan Desai, we would request you to relieve ourselves from WMA.”
Status of CBI cases against Dr Ketan Desai
Dr Desai’s trusted lieutenants plan to distribute the CBI letters and tell all WMA members that six out of eight cases against him have been closed and charges are yet to framed in case RC 006 2010 A 0015 dated 22.05.2010 of CBI ACB Lucknow by the competent court. Here is the status update:
* Case RC 2 (A)/2010/ACU-IX/ New Delhi:
Charge sheet was filed against Dr Desai, NS Bhangu, Dr Sukhwinder Singh and Dr Kamal Jeet Singh on 16.09.2011 under section 7,8,12,13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of PC Act 1988. The trial proceeding has been stayed by the supreme court.
* Case RC 02(A)/2010/ACU-IX/CBI/New Delhi on 22.04.2010:
The allegation was that Dr Desai had accepted bribe of Rs 2 crore from the owner of Gian Sagar Medical College, Patiala, through a middleman named JP Singh. However, no cash was recovered during the personal search of Dr Desai.
* Case RC 3 (A)/2010/ACU-IX/New Delhi:
Case was closed after investigation and the closure report filed in the competent court has been accepted
* Case RC MA1 2010 A 0025 dated 29/06/2010 of CBI ACB Chennai:
No action has been taken against Dr Desai. However, a charge sheet was filed on 30.12.2011 against the other accused and trial is pending in the court of ACMM Chennai.
* Case RC MA1 2010 A 0024 dated 21/05/2010 of CBI ACB Chennai:
No action has been taken against Dr. Desai. However, a charge sheet was filed on 30.05.2012 against the other accused and trial is pending in the court of the principal special judge, Puducherry.
* Case RC 15(A)2010/CBI/ACB dated 26/05/2010 of CBI ACB Hyderabad:
No action has been taken against Dr. Desai. However, a charge sheet has been filed against the other accused and trial is pending in the court of ACMM, Hyderabad.
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