The abysmal status of healthcare in the state of West Bengal came to limelight as several deaths including children were reported as a result of private hospitals refusing to admit patients infected with the swine flu virus. The situation in state-run government hospitals under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, who is holding the posts of both health minister and chief minister, is equally pitiful as government hospitals are struggling to privide adequate beds or medicines to treat swine flu virus. PBT has submitted a memorandum to Mamata Banerjee demanding investigation and exemplary action against the hospitals that have refused to treat patients with swine flu virus infection. PBT has also demanded that all families of victims who have died from swine flu infection due to refusal of treatment or wrong treatment be compensated Rs. 10 lakh by the Bengal government. PBT may move public interest litigation unless government takes appropriate action with the swine flu crisis in West Bengal (see news below).
Allabahad High Court (Lucknow bench) has delivered a judgment last week rejecting the plea of ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, who sought dismissal of the criminal charges against him filed by CBI under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 120-B (“criminal conspiracy”) and Section 420 (“cheating”). This case for corruption against Desai originated from his role in granting MCI recognition to Sri Ram Murti Smarak Institute of Medical Sciences, Bareilly, U.P when Desai was still sitting MCI president. However, Lucknow HC has set aside only the charge against Desai filed under Section 13 (“criminal misconduct by a public servant”) of Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act. Desai had moved these revision petitions before Lucknow HC seeking to quash all charges against him. The Lucknow HC has categorically held:
“So far as the order of framing of charges under Sections 120-B, 420 IPC against Dr. Ketan Desai is concerned, the same need no interference at this state.”
Thus, the long-awaited criminal trial of Ketan Desai for his alleged offense under Indian Penal Cole (IPC) Section 120-B (“criminal conspiracy”) and Section 420 (“cheating”), which may carry jail sentence for up to 7 years, is expected to start in Lucknow soon. Desai will also have to stand a separate criminal trial in Delhi for alleged corruption and bribery for which he was arrested by CBI in 2010. Desai has already been charge-sheeted in this case which should start in Delhi Patiala court soon.
Shockingly, a major Indian newspaper, Times of India (TOI), twisted the Lucknow HC judgment in order to paint a positive picture for Desai as they have reported in Suaday’s (Feb. 22) paper with an eye-catching caption, “Medical seats: HC acquits Desai of graft charges” (see below). A plain reading of the entire HC judgment (copy attached) will show that nowhere in the entire judgment that the Lucknow HC has “acquitted” Desai of the pending charges of bribery and corruption as reported in TOI. The HC has merely said that the charges against Desai as a “public servant” (under Section 13 of PC Act) should be removed. This glaring misinformation perpetrated by a major newspaper clearly demonstrates that Desai has profound influence not only on the major political parties including BJP and Congress (whose top leaders publicly attended Desai’s daughter’s marriage in Ahmedabad recently), but he also has a firm grip over major media houses in India who are twisting news in order to restore his badly dented public image.
Top leaders of Indian Medical Association (IMA) and MCI are well-known for their staunch support of Desai. As we reported recently, many IMA/MCI leaders including IMA secretary-general, Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, and MCI “grievance committee” chairman, Dr. Ajay Kumar, approached World Medical Association (WMA) last year and made a blatantly false claim that all criminal charges against Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority. And based on this false claim by IMA/MCI leaders, WMA also reinstated Desai as their president-elect for 2016. Since then, Desai cronies in IMA/MCI have been touting for Desai based on his fraudulently obtained accolade of WMA president-elect. Even the chief vigilance officer (CVO) of MCI found the claim by Dr. Kumar/Dr. Aggarwal false and “unethical” as the CVO recommended the central health ministry to take disciplinary action against Dr. Kumar and Dr. Aggarwal. But the health ministry is also keeping deaf ears to CVO’s recommendation and refused to act against Desai or his cronies. The Lucknow HC judgment provides further proof that Desai is prima facie guilty for corruption as he faces at least two criminal trials.
PBT has already written to WMA and Indian health minister, Mr. J.P. Nadda, urging them to take appropriate action against Desai and his cronies and to take necessary steps to remove Desai from the post of WMA president-elect. So far, no response received from WMA, MCI/IMA or health ministry. Will the BJP government open their eyes and act to save the crumbling healthcare delivery system and medical education in India?
PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha has written to Dr. Nata Menabde, World Health Organizstion (WHO) representative to India, to look into the alleged corruption in the recent reinstatement of tainted ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, as WMA president-elect for 2016 (see Dr. Saha’s letter below). Serious allegations were surfaced recently after Dr. Desai was surreptitiously re-appointed as WMA president-elect following several top members of MCI and IMA including Dr. Ajay Kumar and Dr. K.K. Aggarwal falsely claimed that all criminal charges against Dr. Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority. The MCI Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) also found the action of Dr. Ajay Kumar and others as “unethical” and recommended to the Health Ministry to take disciplinary action against Dr. Kumar and other high-rank MCI/IMA members. But Indian Health Ministry has remained absolutely silent until now.
PBT also complained with the WMA presiden in France against this corrupt activity by MCI/IMA leaders to reinstate Dr. Desai as WMA president-elect. Unfortunately, WMA has also remained in a deep slumber and refused to take any action against the Indian medical leaders. The WMA has claimed on their website that they are “in official relations” with WHO. As such, PBT has now drawn attention of the WHO (in India) to investigate this sordid incidence between WMA and Ketan Desai and his cronies in MCI/IMA because the blatant reinstatement of Dr. Desai as WMA president-elect while he is still waiting for his criminal trial for serious charges of bribery and corruption to begin has sent a strong negative signal to the ordinary people and “good” doctors of India.
According to published report, BJP President and Prime Minister Modi’s closest confidante, Amit Shah’s son’s marriage was held through a lavish ceremony in Ahmedabad today where all top ministers and leaders of BJP were present along with disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai (see news below). Apart from most central ministers of the BJP government including the newly chosen health minister, Mr. J.P. Nadda, the entire Gujarat cabinet headed by chief minister, Anandiben Patel, was also in the guest list along with Ketan Desai.
Only two months ago, Health Minister Nadda also attended a medical conference in Ahmedabad sitting next to Desai ignoring strong objection from PBT. Even the Additional Solicitor General of BJP government, Mr. Tushar Mehta, was also seen in the marriage party along with the top medical mafia, Ketan Desai. It must be noted that Desai is still free on bail, waiting for his trial to begin for serious charges of bribery and corruption. As the health minister enjoys the marriage ceremony with Desai, numerous complaints from PBT and others against Desai and his medical cronies in MCI/IMA are collecting dust in health minister’s office. Can we still trust the BJP government to bring Ketan Desai to justice? Ironically, while the ministers and Desai were enjoying the Amit Shah’s son’s marriage party, BJP was routed by the AAP in Delhi. We call Mr. Modi to wake up and cleanse the rot in the health ministry as otherwise, BJP might look like the Congress party today come next general election.
In a shocking display of mockery of the medical justice system, West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) is refusing to suspend the medical registrations of 5 doctors based in West Bengal whose were found guilty for “medical negligence” by the Medical Council of India (MCI), highest medical regulatory body in India. On 23rd January, MCI wrote to WBMC Registrar asking to take necessary action to suspend medical licenses of 5 doctors who are registered with WBMC for a period of 6 months to 5 years because they were found guilty of causing death of three patients in hospitals in Kolkata, Nadia and Malda. Licenses of Drs. Tapan Mukherjee, Kamal Kumar Das and Joydeep Basu of Uma Medical Center on VIP Road, Kolkata were suspended for a period between 1 and 5 years for causing death of 31-year old wife of Dr. Biman Saharoy during a simple gall stone operation while license of Dr. N.R. Saha, a gynecologist at Malda Nursing Home was suspended for 1 year for causing death of 30-year old wife of Mr. Subir Roy of Malda and license of Dr. Kamal Majumder of Kalyani Hospital was suspended for causing death of 22-year old daughter of Mr. Radhamadhab Das during a simple appendectomy (see the news reports below).
After these victims from different parts of West Bengal came to PBT seeking justice for the wrongful death of their loved ones, they were guided to move the medical council as well as consumer court. The devious WBMC either dismissed or indefinitely delayed hearing of the complaints against doctors, the victims lodged appeal to MCI under section 8.7 or 8.8 of MCI “Code of Medical Ethics & Regulations” (these laws were created by Supreme Court of India in response to a PIL filed by PBT in 2000). While MCI found all 5 doctors guilty for medical negligence and directed WBMC to suspend the licenses of the errant doctors for a specified period of time, WBMC has remained absolutely silent as the negligent doctors continue practice medicine. PBT has lodged a formal complaint with WBMC Registrar, Mr. D.K. Ghosh, urging him to immediately suspend the licenses of the guilty doctors failing which PBT may move the court of law for the ends of justice.
In the upcoming (February 16, 2015) issue of the popular magazine “Outlook”, a critical analysis on how the World Medical Association (WMA) has been systematically influenced by disgraced ex-Medical Council of India (MCI) president, Ketan Desai, and his cronies who are now occupying top positions in MCI as well as Indian Medical Association (IMA) will appear (see the Outlook report available online below). As noted in the Outlook article, Desai is not only aided by the top officials in MCI/IMA, he also enjoys support from all political parties (with the sole exception of AAP). While the last health minister under the Congress government, Mr. Gulam Nabi Azad, was well known to be a close ally of Desai, the new health minister under BJP government, Mr. J.P. Nadda, publicly appeared with Desai at a medical conference in Ahmedabad last December despite an appeal made by PBT urging Mr. Nadda not to appear in the conference with Desai because it would send the wrong signal for the people of India. PBT has also written to the present WMA president and a doctor from France, Xavier Deau, with all evidence of corruption by Desai and his cronies and urging him to remove Desai from the post of WMA president-elect for 2016. But Dr. Deau has opted absolute silence to PBT’s repeated appeals against Desai. As the Outlook report says, although WMA claims that their goal is to achieve “high standard of medical ethics” across the world, it seems that they practice only to promote “unethics” and the most unethical and corrupt medical man from India.
PBT has called a press conference to be held at Calcutta Press Club in Kolkata at 5 pm tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 7) to present a historic development as Medical Council of India (MCI) directed to cancel medical registrations of a large number of doctors for a period ranging 6 months to 5 years on account of patients’ death from “medical negligence”. At least three victims whose loved ones died from gross medical negligence in hospitals across West Bengal came to PBT seeking justice several years ago. The West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) either delayed indefinitely or dismissed the complaints of these victims. Under guidance from PBT, these victims lodged appeals with MCI under sections 8.7 and 8.8 of “Code of Ethics Regulations” (these laws were created as a result of PBT’s PIL in Supreme Court in 2004). Last week, MCI has held doctors in all three cases guilty for medical negligence and directed WBMC to suspend their licenses to practice for a period of up to 5 years. With support from PBT, victims of medical negligence in other states across India have also started to see some glimpse of hope to find justice for the wrongful death of their loved ones. Detail of these cases will be posted soon.
Top-rank international medical journal, British Medical Journal (BMJ), published a report this week on the recent muddle with reinstatement of disgraced ex-Medical Council of India (MCI) president, Dr. Ketan Desa, as WMA president-elect for 2016 (see BMJ report below). Dr. Desai has a long and grossly tainted history in Indian medicine which is known to most ordinary people in India. Despite a checkered past, Dr. Desai has been able to maintain a firm grip over the medical education and healthcare regulation system in India with support from his unscrupulous cronies many of whom are still occupying top positions in MCI and Indian Medical Association (IMA).
After Desai was caught red-handed by CBI for taking bribe from a private medical college in 2010, MCI was dissolved under massive public pressure. Although Desai managed to get himself selected for the prestigious post of WMA president for 2010, WMA was compelled to remove Desai from his post of president-elect following his arrest by CBI in 2010. After staying in jail for several months, Desai was released on bail later in 2010. While free on bail, Desai is waiting for his criminal trial to begin for serious charges of bribery and corruption.
Last year, WMA suddenly declared that Desai would be reinstated as WMA president-elect for 2016 based on a fabricated claim some IMA leaders including Dr. Ajay Kumar and Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, boh members of IMA/MCI, that all charges against Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority. PBT launched strong protest against such fraudulent act by the IMA/MCI leaders and demanded that Desai must be removed from his post of WMA president-elect. Now a top leader of WMA, Dr. Mukesh Haikarwal from Australia, has come forward to defend Desai and claimed that there is no bar to make Desai as WMA president-elect until he is convicted by the court. According to the rules of Indian government and that of most other countries, a public official must be suspended indefinitely who has been found prima facie guilty for criminal offense and put in jail for more than 48 hours until he is acquitted by the court. More importantly, WMA also suspended Desai and removed him from the post of president-elect in 2010 soon after his arrest by CBI even when no charges were framed against him. Now charges have been framed and Desai is waiting for trial to start anytime, WMA decided to reinstate him as president-elect because he has not been “convicted” by the court yet. Even more shockingly, this WMA leader has stated to BMJ that Desai must be highly “regarded” as a medical figure in India since he recently attended an IMA conference where the newly selected health minister, Mr. J.P. Nadda, also took part. Why this sudden change of heart of WMA to favor Desai? Has the evil of healthcare corruption crossed Indian border and infiltrated even the largest world medical body?
Another shocking act perpetrated by the Medical Council of India (MCI) was revealed showing blatant appointments of outside doctors, who are not elected members of MCI, to important Committees which regulate medical education and practice of medicine. Even more shocking is the fact that many of these outside, non-member doctors who have been unlawfully hired as “advisers”, “invitees” or “consultants” by the MCI president, Dr. Jayshreeben Mehta and other members of the Executive Committee are known cronies of disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai. For example, well-known mouth-piece of Dr. Desai is one Dr. K.K. Aggarwal from Delhi who has recently been posted as the Indian Medical Association (IM) Secretary-General. Dr. Aggarwal was never elected as a member of MCI but he has been sitting as an adjudicator for many months in the important MCI Ethics Committee to judge complaints of medical negligence.
This shocking incidence was uncovered last week after PBT managed to obtain a letter (under RTI Act) written by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to MCI president, Dr. Mehta on 4th March, 2014 in which it was categorically directed that appointments of doctors who are not official MCI members in any post in the Council is not legal. The Health Ministry further directed Dr. Mehta not to hire anyone for any position in the MCI who is not an elected member and to cancel all such appointments made “with immediate effect” (see the Health Ministry letter below). Ignoring such unequivocal order from the Ministry of Health, Dr. Mehta, who is a known to be very close to Dr. Ketan Desai, has continued to hire outside, non-member doctors to suit her agenda. PBT has lodged a formal complaint with MCI last week seeing clarification of these unlawful activities. Unless Dr. Mehta clarifies these illegal appointment of doctors, PBT has also vouched that they will move the court of law for the ends of justice.
District Consumer Court in Bankura (230 km from Kolkata) has held a surgeon (Dr. Mrintyunjoy Pal) and Panacea Hospital guilty for deficiency of service and awarded Rs. 2.1 lakh compensation today to a primary school teacher (Mr. Tapan Sarkar). What is unique in this case is that PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, who is a medical doctor and not a licensed advocate, personally appeared and argued for Mr. Sarkar during his trip to India last month. The consumer court has directed the guilty hospital/doctor to pay the compensation within two months failing which 9% interest would be added. Mr. Sarkar was suffering from pain in the rectum and anal area for which Dr. Pal advised quick surgery. But instead of curing the condition, patient’s problems were aggravated for which he had to rush to a hospital in Chennai for a second surgery. The court has found the surgeon and hospital guilty on several counts including failure to record vital signs, using invalid informed consent and not issuing proper discharge certificate. Dr. Saha strongly argued on the deficiency of services by the accused doctor and hospital. Dr. Saha also personally argued (for wrongful death of his wife, Anuradha) before the Supreme Court of India in 2009 and again in 2013 when he was awarded highest-ever compensation in Indian medico-legal history. There is no doubt that today’s verdict by the Consumer Court in Bankura will bring a ray of hope for all victims of medical negligence. PBT will continue to help the numerous victims of alleged “medical negligence” from all parts of India who have come to PBT in their quest for justice.
Known cronies of disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, once again made a brazen attempt to bring him back to the helm of Indian medicine by making false claim before the World Medical Association (WMA) that all criminal charges against Desai have been dropped by the Indian authority in order to make a case to reinstate Desai as WMA president for 2016. After PBT lodged a complaint about this false claim by several senior MCI and IMA leaders including Dr. Ajay Kumar, Dr. Vinay Aggarwal, and Dr. Sudipto Roy, Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of MCI investigated and found that these top MCI/IMA leaders lied when they claimed before WMA that Desai has been acquitted from all criminal charges. Ketan Desai was caught red-handed 2010 in a sting operation by CBI while taking Rs. 2 crore bribe from a private medical college. After staying in Tihar jail for almost 6 months, Desai has been free on bail since October, 2010 waiting for trial to begin in the main “Trap” case and another corruption case in Lucknow. On 30th October, 2014, the CVO found three MCI/IMA members, Dr. Kumar, Dr. Aggarwal and Dr. Roy, guilty for “unethical” conduct and recommended to the Health Ministry for taking appropriate disciplinary action against the three doctors. Unfortunately, health ministry has remained absolutely silent and showed no interest to take any disciplinary action against the three doctors who continue to sit in the MCI Ethics Committee to deliver judgment on medical negligence and ethics. PBT has submitted a memorandum with the WMA presiden, Dr. Deau of France, yesterday seeking his urgent intervention to remove tainted Desai from the post of WMA president-elect. PBT is also preparing to move a new PIL against these sheer atrocities by leaders of MCI and IMA (see news below).
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), a voluntary organization of doctors, has proposed new guidelines to improve ethical practice by doctors, declared Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, who was elected as the new secretary-general of IMA at a pompous gala during the 89th All India Medical Conference held in Ahmedabad on December 27, 2014. There is no argument that it is a praiseworthy effort for any organization to try to improve ethical practice of medicine in India. But the new proposal by IMA is misconvceived for more reasons than one.
First, IMA has absolutely no legal authority to enforce anything on any doctor. Therefore, anything IMA might propose, even for better practice of medicine, would simply be ignored by members of the medical community who are involved with unethical practice. The power to enforce doctors to do ethical practice is vested only with the Medical Council of India (MCI) that has already framed “Code of Ethics & Regulations” which is mandatory for all registered doctors in India. Rather than making an useless public stunt by proposing new ethical norms for doctors, IMA should send their guidelines to MCI for adding them to the existing “Code of Ethics & Regulations” in order to have any real effect on doctors.
More importantly, the way healthcare in India stands today, IMA has hardly any credibility left to propose guidelines on medical ethics. At the IMA conference in Ahmedabad last week, disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, ;was chosen to deliver the inaugural address and he was treated as the supreme leader of IMA by Dr. Aggarwal and other senior IMA members. As most people in India are aware today, Dr. Desai is now free on bail facing serious criminal charges for bribery and corruption. Dr. Desai’s license to practice also remains suspended and he has been barred from participating in any medical conference by MCI since 2010 after he was caught red-handed while taking bribe by CBI. Many senior IMA leaders themselves are also facing serious charges for corruption and unethical practice. Has IMA ever taken any action against any of their delinquent medical colleagues? IMA must first cleanse its own house and try to restore public trust before even thinking to propose ethical guidelines. The latest move by IMA is nothing but an empty political gimmick.
Filled with numerous victims of medical negligence including many doctors, PBT celebrated its 13th Anniversary at Rotary Sadan in Kolkata on December 30, 2014 (see news below). PBT was founded in 2001 by its president, Dr. Kunal Saha, following death of his wife, Anuradha, who died from gross medical negligence by three senior Kolkata doctors, Sukumar Mukherjee and late Abani Roychowdhury and Baidyanath Halder. Retired Major General and ex-Medical Council of India (MCI) president, S.P. Jhingon, appeared as the “chief guest” with another retired Army Chief, General S. Roychowdhury. Gen. Jhingon described his experience as MCI chief several years ago and categorically said that MCI was truly a “den of corruption” as held by Delhi High Court while directing to remove then MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai. Gen. Jhingon further said that although Dr. Desai is not officially a member of MCI at the present moment as he is facing criminal charges for bribery and corruption, the entire council is being run by his cronies at Desai’s direction today. Gen. Roychowdhury said that in order to bring honesty and transparency to the medical council, at least 50% of its members should come from “non-doctor” members in the society. Several doctors who have lost their loved ones from medical negligence also appeared and urged the medical fraternity to wake up and take action against their errant medical colleagues. Dr. Kunal Saha was also present in the program who made scathing criticism of the central as well as state government and blamed that a connivance between the unscrupulous medicos and corrupt government is responsible for the present pathetic condition of healthcare in India. Dr. Saha also demanded that cases of medical negligence must be decided through a fast-track justice delivery system.
In yet another shocking attempt to restore public image of the disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, Indian Medical Association (IMA) will be hosting 89th All India Medical Conference in Ahmedabad on 27th December, 2014 where Dr. Desai will be delivering the inaugural speech and the new central health minister, Mr. J.P. Nadda, would appear as the “chief guest” (see IMA announcement below). This blatant move by IMA is not only unethical, it also violates prevailing medical laws in India. Dr. Desai was caught red-handed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for taking huge bribe from a private medical college in 2010 when he was still working as MCI president. In response to PBT’s appeal, MCI also indefinitely suspended Dr. Desai’s license to practice medicine and barred him from “participating as a doctor in a medical conference anywhere” vide an order dated October 9, 2010. Bringing Dr. Desai to inaugurate the national medical conference in Ahmedabad, IMA has clearly trampled over the direction passed by MCI in 2010. But cronies of Dr. Desai are now occupying top positions in MCI as well as IMA. Little wonder that the same MCI which barred Desai from participating in any medical conference is now paving the way to bring him back to the helm of Indian medicine while he still waits for criminal trial to start. The same IMA/MCI leaders also attempted to push Dr. Desai recently for the prestigious post of World Medical Association (WMA) president through fraudulent claim that all charges against Dr. Desai have been dropped and that his license to practice medicine has also been reinstated by MCI. PBT has submitted an urgent appeal to the health minister today urging him not to attend the medical conference in Ahmedabad to send a strong signal against the growing menace of medical corruption.
Top leaders from political parties of all colors including sitting chief ministers of three different states (Gujarat, Utter Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh) attended a lavish marriage ceremony of Dr. Desai’s daughter held in Ahmedabad on Saturday (Nov. 29). Top medical leaders of MCI including members of the Ethics Committee and leaders of IMA also joined this party to celebrate the marriage of the daughter of the biggest medical mafia in Indian medicine (see news below). This shameless public display of celebration by India’s top political and medical leaders is clearly aimed to express their solidarity and support for the condemned ex-MCI president.
Dr. Desai perhaps played the most heinous role in spreading medical corruption during his long tenure as the head of MCI and IMA. Dr. Desai was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2010 for taking bribe from a private medical college allegedly in exchange of granting MCI recognition. While Dr. Desai is still free on bail waiting for his criminal trial to begin, it was recently reported that he had several private meetings with the CBI Director, Mr. Ranjit Sinha. Dr. Desai also managed to put his cronies to the top positions in MCI through a botched election last year. However, in response to a recent PIL filed by our organization (W.P. No. 890/2014), Hon’ble Supreme Court issued notice against MCI and Dr. Desai for their role in the allegedly rigged MCI election. The highly publicized, long and sordid saga of Dr. Desai has created a deep distrust for the ordinary people across India against the entire medical community.
Dr. Desai is not only facing serious criminal charges from CBI for bribery and corruption, he is also facing cases for allegedly rigging the MCI election. We are deeply concerned with this recent development because of the shameless patronage shown by top leaders from different political parties in support of Dr. Desai. This raises serious question about extraneous influences trying to shield Dr. Desai and it also sends a wrong signal for the public at large. PBT has submitted an urgent memorandum to the Prime Minister seeking his immediate intervention in this matter to assure equitable justice for tainted Dr. Desai (see below).