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May 16, 2012 at 10:12am IST

Medical Council scandal: tainted ex-chief's aides reinstated

New Delhi: It seems that another scandal is set to rock the Health Ministry. A CNN-IBN investigation has revealed that former Medical council of India (MCI) members, close to arrested former chief Ketan Desai, are being brought back into the Medical Council. The Board of Governors that was appointed to clean up the mess is under scrutiny.

Two years after Ketan Desai's arrest and dissolution of the Medical Council of India, the medical education regulator is still being run by an ad-hoc Board of Governors appointed by the Health Ministry. CNN-IBN has accessed documents that cast a shadow on the credibility of the Board and indicate that it may be allowing a back door entry for Ketan Desai's aides.

The Post Graduate Committee set up by the board includes Dr Bhanu Dubey and Dr Deelip Mhaisekar, both former MCI members who were a part of the group that re-elected Ketan Desai as the President in 2009. Another member of the PG committee, Dr RV Azad, is also a former MCI member who is said to have worked closely with Desai.

The new Under Graduate Committee is no different. Two of its members, Professor RC Siwach and Dr Mukesh Sharma are also alleged Desai loyalists, who voted in his favour in the 2009 General Body meeting.

The new Ethics Committee is chaired by Professor Sneh Bhargav, known as Desai's aide and also a former member. The other names on the list include Dr Raja Babu Panwar, who was an MCI member when it was dissolved in 2010 and Dr Chander Shekhar Shetty who was introduced as a member by Desai in 2001. The officials who had worked with Desai in the past are raising a red flag.

Former MCI Administrator General Jhingon said, "These names that you have mentioned are the people who Desai greatly trusted and this is the same group that worked at keeping the CBI away from Desai for years."

Not just the current board of directors, it now appears that the Health Ministry too has been shielding Desai's aides in the past. A case in point is Dr Ved Prakash Mishra. The CBI, in 2007, recommended a departmental inquiry and serious penalties against him for bending rules. In return, the Health Ministry under Ghulam Nabi Azad nominated him as an MCI member in February, 2010.

Former MCI Additional Secretary Dr Prem Kumar said, "The government's efforts increasingly appear like an eye wash. It seems like they are slowly allowing Desai back in the system."

The Chairman of the MCI Board, Dr KK Talwar, was unavailable for comments.

Experts have been questioning the decision of the MCI Board to re-elect the same members when they have the option of choosing from a pool of 6 lakh other doctors in the country. The other question that is being raised is as to why is the Health Ministry acting as a mute spectator.