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?