These 17 doctors helped disgraced former MCI president, says crusader against corruption in healthcare in letter to Ghulam Nabi Azad
Pankaj Kumar | November 29, 2013
Dr Kunal Saha, the NRI medical practitioner who is waging a crusade against corruption in the Medical Council of India (MCI) and irregularities in medical education and healthcare, has pointed out another anomaly in the MCI. In a recent letter to union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, the US-based Dr Saha has pointed out that 17 doctors who helped Dr Ketan Desai, a former president of the MCI who was removed earlier on corruption charges, and were part of the previous MCI that was dissolved in 2010 on grounds of “widespread corruption” have been nominated or elected as members of the next council.
This, the doctor said in his letter, is clear violation of the specific provisions laid down in the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013.
In October, Dr Saha had written to the health ministry seeking removal of Ketan Desai from the MCI (read the story here). Desai, he noted in that letter, had been elected to the MCI by Gujarat University to represent the state in the council, which, Dr Saha said, is a “great travesty”.
Here are the 17 doctors who were MCI members in 2009 and nominated/elected again in 2013, as noted by Dr Kunal Saha in his letter to health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad:
1. Dr G.B. Gupta (nominated by state of Chhattisgarh)
2. Dr V.N. Jindal (nominated by state of Goa)
3. Dr Muzaffar Ahmad (nominated by state of J&K)
4. Dr Rani Vaskaran (nominated by state of Kerala), doctor who proposed the name of Dr Ketan Desai as MCI president during MCI meeting on 1st March, 2013)
5. Dr A. Bijoy Singh (nominated by state of Manipur)
6. Dr Baldev Singh Aulakh (nominated by state of Punjab)
7. Dr Raja Babu Panwar (nominated by state of Rajasthan)
8. Dr. C.V. Bhirmanandham (Nominated by the central government)
9. Dr Vijay Kumar Jain (elected from B.D. Sharma Univ., Rohtak, Haryana)
10. Dr Shirish Srivastava (elected unanimously; Sarder Patel Univ. Gujarat)
11. Dr Mahendra D. Chauhan (elected unanimously; Veer Narmad Univ. Gujarat by senate/court)
12. Dr Deelip Mhaisekar (elected; Maharashtra University)
13. Dr Shivanand Bhimalli (elected unanimously; Rajiv Gandhi Univ.)
14. Dr Khothari Bhabinbhai S. (elected unanimously; Saurashtra univ., Gujarat) (name changed from the one showed during MCI meeting on 1st March, 2009)
15. Dr Silvano C.S. Dias Sapeco (elected unanimously; Goa University)
16. Dr S.N. Chaudhary (elected unanimously; Ranchi University)
17. Dr Vijay Prakash Singh (Aryabhatta Knowledge Univ., Patna) (name changed from how it appeared during MCI meeting on 1st March, 2009)
In 2010, Dr Saha had written to the Medical Council of India to cancel Ketan Desai’s licence. While he succeeded in his mission, the Gujarat government later reinstated Desai – a move the Indian-American doctor had challenged in court.
In October this year, the supreme court ordered Kolkata’s renowned AMRI hospital to pay Dr Saha Rs 5.96 crore in compensation for medical negligence that led to his wife Anuradha’s death in 1998. This is the biggest compensation the apex court has ever ordered in a case of medical negligence.
We reproduce Dr Saha’s latest letter to the health minister – dated November 22, 2013 – below. Two pdf files – of a Gazette notification dated November 5, 2013 and copy of the minutes of MCI general body meeting held on March 1, 2009 – are attached at the end of the whole story.
November 22, 2013
Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Union Govt. of India
Nirman Bhawan, C-Wing
New Delhi 110001
Hon’ble Mr. Health Minister:
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MHFW) announced a list of names of 59 doctors from across India who have been nominated/elected as members of the next Medical Council of India (MCI) vide a Gazette notification dated 5th November, 2013 (copy attached). I’m writing this letter on behalf of PBT, a charitable organization dedicated to establish a better healthcare delivery system in India, to draw your kind and urgent attention to the fact that the said list includes at least 17 doctors whose presence in the next MCI would undoubtedly undermine public trust on the healthcare regulatory system because these doctors were also part of the previous MCI which was dissolved by your department in 2010 on the ground of wide-spread corruption after then MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, was arrested red-handed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for taking bribe from a private medical college. The criminal case against Dr. Desai and others is still continuing in the CBI court in Delhi and elsewhere while Dr. Desai is free on bail. The names of these 17 doctors with tainted background and unquestionable link with the disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Desai, are shown below.
In fact, these 17 doctors also voted to elect Dr. Desai as MCI president during the general body meeting held on 1st March, 2009 (copy of the Minutes of MCI meeting attached). It is also pertinent to mention that Dr. Desai was removed from MCI earlier in 2001 at the direction of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court with scathing criticism that he had turned MCI into a “den of corruption”. Ironically, Dr. Desai was never found innocent from the specific charges that Hon’ble Delhi High Court labeled against him although he somehow managed to return to MCI and re-captured the post of MCI president in 2009 with explicit as well as implicit support from other MCI members including the 17 doctors who now have been re-nominated/elected to become members of next MCI.
Interestingly, these 17 doctors also include one Dr. Rani Vaskaran (nominated by Kerala government) who actually proposed the name of Dr. Desai for MCI president in 2009 as her husband, one Dr. P.C. Kesavankutty Nayar, acting MCI president during Dr. Desai’s re-election in 2009 and a close ally of Dr. Desai, who paved the way for his return and “unopposed” election win to be MCI president on 1st March, 2009 (please see attached MCI Minutes). Ironically, Dr. Kesavankutty Nayar also filed an appeal in Supreme Court in 2002 (SC Civil Appeal No. 599-600/2000; P.C. Kesavankutty Nayar vs. Harish Bhalla & Ors.) in support of Dr. Desai which eventually resulted in his return as MCI president in 2009. It is also noteworthy to point out in this regard that while majority of the 17 doctors who are now part of the next MCI were “nominated” by the state/central government and others were elected through the health university quota, not a single doctor was elected to MCI by their peers, i.e. medical practitioners registered with different state medical councils (see attached Gazette notification).
The sordid saga involving MCI and Dr. Desai over the past many years has greatly damaged public confidence on the medical regulatory system in India. There is little doubt that nomination/election of the 17 doctors, who previously helped Dr. Desai to regain control of the MCI, to become members for the next MCI would further erode public trust in the future of healthcare delivery system. In fact, on the wake of the serious allegations of pervasive corruption during Dr. Desai’s era of the last MCI, a new provision (Section 30-A.2g) has been added by the legislators in the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 with an aim to prevent anybody from becoming a member of MCI which may destabilize broader interest of the general public. The said Section 30-A(2g) is reproduced hereinbelow for your kind reference:
“The Central Government may remove from office the President, Vice-president or any member of the Council who has been found guilty of proved misbehavior or his continuance in office would be detrimental in public interest”. (emphasis added)
There can be no argument that presence of the 17 doctors who have already become members of the next MCI would be detrimental for the society at large for reasons discussed above. Their presence in the new MCI would clearly violate the specific provision (under Section 30-A.2g) both in letters and spirit. Therefore, we earnestly request you to please take appropriate steps for immediate removal of the 17 doctor-members from MCI in accordance to Section 30-A.2g of Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 for greater public interest and for the ends of justice. Thank you in advance for your kind attention and prompt intervention in this matter of grave significance to public health.
Kunal Saha, MD, PhD
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