HC notice on AIIMS plea to replace forensic department head

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to Sudhir Kumar Gupta on a plea filed by AIIMS for the appointment of D.N. Bhardwaj as the new head of its forensic medicine and toxicology department.

A division bench of Justice G.S. Sistani and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal sought a response from Gupta, who is at present the department chairman, by July 23.

Dr Gupta courted controversy in the past by claiming he was pressurised by top AIIMS official to show Sunanda Pushkar’s death as “natural”.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had accused Gupta of generating adverse publicity for the institute by levelling “baseless” allegations.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy also filed an intervening application in the case, saying that replacing Gupta will have “wide implications in the ongoing Sunanda Pushkar case”.

Pushkar, wife of Congress member of parliament Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in her room at a five-star hotel in Delhi on January 17, 2014.

The high court on March 25 directed AIIMS to take its permission before replacing Gupta.

Gupta had challenged a March 4 decision of the Central Administrative Tribunal which rejected his charge that O.P. Murty was promoted after purging his seniority, with the purpose of obtaining a “tailor-made report” in the Sunanda Pushkar death case.

Gupta alleged discrimination after he claimed to have refused to act unprofessionally in the Sunanda Pushkar autopsy matter.

Appearing for AIIMS, advocate R.K. Gupta told the high court that Bhardwaj was senior to Sudhir Gupta by four years and that Gupta had not challenged the former’s seniority either before the CAT or in the high court.

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