Scam-tainted former MCI chief set to head global body

Activists approach health ministry to prevent Desai's elevation
Last Updated 21 September 2014, 20:19 IST

Anti-corruption activists have approached the health ministry to stop the elevation of scam-tainted former Medical Council of India (MCI) president Ketan Desai as head of the World Medical Association (WMA).

Simultaneously, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court with the objective of preventing Desai from wielding influence at the MCI, currently being run by doctors believed to be close to Desai.

Desai will become the president-elect of WMA in October, 2015 and president in 2016. His name was recommended to the WMA by the Indian Medical Association – India’s largest body of doctors – which Desai used to head between 2001 and 2003.

Activists argued the IMA misled the global body by claiming Desai was given a clean chit by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that arrested him in 2010 allegedly for accepting a bribe from a private medical college.

Four years down the line, there are only two cases pending against Desai – the original case, which has now been stayed by the Supreme Court and a trial in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court in connection to the MCI inspection of a private medical college during Desai’s tenure as MCI president. In the second case, charge sheet has not yet been filed.

“In the original case, the CBI filed a closure report on the corresponding case on disproportionate assets in 2012, which was accepted by the CBI Court. Without a DA case, where is the proof of corruption? His registration which was suspended following his arrest was revoked by the MCI Board of Governors in December, 2013,” K K Agarwal, the incumbent secretary general (elect) of IMA told Deccan Herald.

The MCI did not revoke the suspension for Desai alone. It did for four other doctors including former health minister Anbumani Ramadoss and former director general of Indian Council of Medical Research N K Ganguly, who too are facing court cases.

The revocation was done following a specific section in the MCI Act, which says a doctor’s registration cannot be cancelled unless the person is convicted. “As on date, Ketan Desai is a valid member of both IMA and MCI. His registration has also not been cancelled by the Gujarat Medical Council,” said Agarwal.

“A baleful attempt has been made by senior IMA leaders, some of whom are also occupying top positions in the newly formed MCI, to restore the public image of disgraced ex-MCI president Ketan Desai, and to obstruct the course of justice by making him president-elect of WMA through blatant lies and misleading information,” said Kunal Saha, a US-based doctor who heads a NGO named People for Better Treatment (PBT).

PBT also approached the Supreme Court claiming that the election process through which some of the doctors close to Desai became MCI office bearers, was rigged from the very beginning.

(Published 21 September 2014, 20:19 IST)

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