Mamta Banerjee, Trinomul supremo and chief minister as well as health minister in West Bengal, has embraced Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee, who was responsible for the death of Anuradha Saha. Before a gathering of physicians in Kolkata yesterday, Mamta Banerjee highly praised Dr. Mukherjee and invited him as the chief adviser for the Bengal government to advise how to improve the healthcare system in West Bengal (see Statesman news below; also picture in a Bengali daily showing Mamta Banerjee handing a special award to Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee). Dr. Mukherjee was found guilty by the Supreme Court of India in 2009 for gross medical negligence causing death of Anuradha. Supreme Court remanded the case back to the National Consumer Forum (NCDRC) for determination of the quantum of punishment to be paid by the guilty doctors. In fact, Dr. Mukherjee’s role was so heinous in view of the Supreme Court that it imposed an additional penalty of Rs. 1 lakh against Dr. Mukherjee. None of the other doctors who were also found guilty for contributory negligence in Anuradha’s death had to pay any additional penalty.
On October 21, 2011, NCDRC awarded Rs. 1.7 crore compensation, highest in Indian medico-legal history, for Anuradha’s wrongful death with the highest share to be paid by Dr. Mukherjee. Dr. Mukherjee has not paid any compensation until now for which a separate petition seeking imprisonment of Dr. Mukherjee has already been accepted by NCDRC. Supreme Court has also admitted an appeal filed by Anuradha’s husband and PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha for enhancement of compensation. This case has been listed for final disposal by the Apex Court on May 1, 2012. More importantly, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has also found Dr. Mukherjee guilty for “professional misconduct” and directed the West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) to cancel his license on May 23, 2011. But a devious WBMC refused to cancel Dr. Mukherjee’s medical registration until now. In fact, almost all members of WBMC were indicted for “criminal conspiracy” (under IPC Section 120b) and “screening offenders” (under IPC Section 201) last year showing that Dr. Mukherjee was not only negligent but he was also involved in criminal conspiracy. The WBMC members conspired with Dr. Mukherjee to acquit him from all charges of medical negligence in 2002. These WBMC members are now facing a criminal trial in Kolkata. Mamta Banerjee has not only embraced Dr. Mukherje openly, she has also invited him to advise the government how to improve the medical system in the state. Does Mamta Banerjee want more Bengal patients to die from gross medical negligence just as Anuradha? A doctor (Dr. Mukherjee) who has already been found guilty for gross negligence by the highest court of the land and whose medical license was directed to be revoked by the highest medical regulatory authority in India (MCI) will now be the chief adviser for the West Bengal government on healthcare.
Recently, Mamta Banerjee government dissolved WBMC and formed an Adhoc State Medical Council in the most tyrannical manner with 10 of her loyal supporters ( including 2 MLAs of Trinomul party) as sole authority of WBMC. A legitimate election to form a new WBMC has been long overdue since the term of the last officially elected council ended in 2010. But instead of holding an open and fair election to form a new WBMC, Mamta Banerjee decided to shove her party loyalists to the top posts in the highest medical regulatory body in West Bengal. Healthcare condition in West Bengal was in an abysmal condition even during the long ruling by the Left-front government which came to an end last year which brought Mamta Banerjee government to the power. Unfortunately, it appears that the hapless patients of West Bengal are being taken from the frying pan to the fire by the Banerjee government.