New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) AIIMS on Tuesday rejected allegations by its forensic department head Sudhir Gupta, who in a letter to Health Minister J.P. Nadda claimed there was an attempt to oust him from his post following his ethical stand in the Sunanda Pushkar murder case.
“There was no extraneous pressure ever put on Sudhir Gupta with regard to his medical opinion to any case. Allegations being levelled against the institute in the media by him in this regard are baseless,” Amit Gupta, spokesperson of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here, told reporters.
The letter by Gupta dated May 28 says: “I have been working in AIIMS for the last 20 years and always have been promoted on merit by duty procedure of selection committee of AIIMS as per the DoPT and AIIMS rules.
“In July 2012, I was promoted as professor and appointed as head of the forensic department and toxicology of AIIMS. However in the last one year, I have been victimised by the previous government and (AIIMS director) M.C. Misra for taking a principled and professional stand in the autopsy report of Sunanda Pushkar.
Gupta further says he was asked by Misra to give a report of “natural death”, which was contrary to the findings.
Pushkar, the wife of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a luxury hotel in Delhi on January 17, 2014. Police registered a murder case on January 1, 2015.
However, the AIIMS spokesperson said that initially, senior professor of the forensic department D.N. Bhardwaj was appointed head of the department on August 1, 2012.
“However, following some personal complications, he requested the AIIMS administration to be allowed to relinquish the post. It was then when Sudhir Gupta was appointed as the head of the forensic department,” he said.
Another senior doctor, O.P. Murthy, was promoted to the grade of professor and was about to be appointed head but was challenged by Gupta.
According to protocol of the institution, the seniormost faculty member in the department is appointed head of that department.
Gupta then challenged the promotion of Murthy in the principal bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which in its decision stated that the original application besides being not maintained was devoid of merit and liable to be dismissed.
Subsequently, Gupta filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, on which it stated that AIIMS will have to inform the high court at the time of making appointment of head of the forensic department.
Meanwhile, Bhardwaj sent a application to the AIIMS administration saying he has fulfilled his responsibility and was willing to take up the responsibility of the head of the forensic department.
“However, as the matter is sub judice, the request could not be acted upon. So AIIMS has moved an application in the Delhi High Court seeking clearance by the court to appoint him to the post of head of the department,” the spokesperson told reporters.
The next hearing of the high court is on July 1, and the spokesperson said AIIMS will comply with the court’s decision in the matter.
The spokesperson also said the institute’s administration will take action against Gupta.
Commenting on the AIIMS response, Gupta told reporters: “Professor M.C. Misra is the one who has to clarify. The public relations officer is no one to speak on the issue as Misra was the one who actually pressurised me to change the post-mortem report.”