As controversy erupted with selection of a convicted physician, Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee, to the “Global Advisory Board” (GAB) to frame medical plans for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in West Bengal, a second member of the elite GAB, a US-based physician, Thomas Frieden, is also reported to have an equally checkered past. Dr. Frieden was arrested by New York City police for alleged sexual assault on 24th August, 2018 and charged with serious criminal sexual offenses. Dr. Frieden eventually pleaded guilty in 2019 for a lesser charge in order to avoid long jail sentence. This news was widely publicized by major media groups in USA including New York Times and ABC News etc.
Obviously, Dr. Frieden has questionable integrity and moral character to be appointed to the highly powerful medical body (GAB) with final authority to decide how to combat COVID-19 for protection of Bengal residents. Ordinary people of West Bengal would not condone doctors with tainted moral characters to be in charge to protect them from COVID-19. The obvious question is why Mamata Banerjee government nominate doctors with problematic background in formidable positions in GAB. The best explanation for the Mamata Banerjee government would be that perhaps Dr. Frieden was not properly vetted by the government before he was chosen for GAB. Other more sinister explanation would require a thorough and transparent investigation by an independent body. PBT submitted a memorandum to the Bengal CM yesterday informing the tainted history of Dr. Frieden and urging the chief minister to immediately remove Dr. Frieden from GAB to restore public trust for the hapless patients and ordinary citizens of West Bengal (see below).