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?