Ganga Ram cardiologist shot dead in New Rajender Nagar

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government,I should not hesitate for a moment.

Written by Ananya Bhardwaj | New Delhi | Published:September 20, 2012 3:56 am

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government,I should not hesitate for a moment

A senior cardiologist,who was working with Sir Ganga Ram Hospital,was shot dead in his New Rajender Nagar home by a retired Army gunner early on Wednesday morning.

Police said Dharmender Kumar Tandon (31) was “obsessed” with a maid who worked for Dr Sanjeev Dhawan (51),vice-chairperson of Ganga Ram Hospital’s cardiology department.

Tandon was arrested within 12 hours of the murder.

Dr Dhawan,who lives on the first floor,had woken up around 2.30 am due to commotion outside his house,police were told. When he stepped out on his balcony to check,Tandon fired three shots at him,one of which hit him on the chest.

According to police,Tandon had climbed to the second floor of the building using the AC duct. He broke into the house,which belongs to a lawyer — Tarun Kalra.

Kalra confronted Tandon and the two got into a scuffle,during which they left Kalra’s second floor home and came rolling down the stairs,police said.

Police said Tandon was armed with a double-barrel gun and an axe.

According to police,Kalra managed to snatch Tandon’s gun and run out of the house,while the ex-Armyman gave chase. After about 50 m,Tandon caught up with Kalra and took his gun back.

Kalra managed to flee the spot,but Tandon went back to the house and fired two bullets to shatter the windowpane of the house on the ground floor. When the doctor came to his balcony,Tandon fired three more shot,one hit Dr Dhawan,police said.

While Tandon fled after the shooting,Dr Dhawan was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

Police said Tandon and Dr Dhawan’s maid,Sangeeta,were living together for a short period around two years ago. Sangeeta had walked out of the relationship,citing domestic abuse.

Sangeeta had started work at Dr Dhawan’s home around 25 days ago,police said.

According to police,Sangeeta did not want to return to Tandon. But he wanted her back and had also “threatened” Dr Dhawan at his hospital.

Around 10 pm on Tuesday,hours before he was killed,Tandon had called Dr Dhawan on his cellphone and threatened him again,police said.

Police have questioned Tandon and Sangeeta. Tandon reportedly told police that the two were married and also gone on outstation tours to Amritsar and Vaishno Devi. He said he took Sangeeta to his hometown — Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh — and introduced her as his wife,he told police.

Sangeeta denied both the claims,police said. She said Tandon had forced her to go on the outstation tours and in Bilaspur he introduced her as a friend to his wife,who works as a teacher.

Police said Tandon claimed he did not intend to kill anyone. “Tandon confessed to have committed the crime in a fit of rage. He told us that he shot at the doctor on hearing his voice in the dark. He claims his intention was only to get Sangeeta back in his life,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Central) Devesh Srivastva said.

Dr Dhawan is survived by his wife Jyoti (48) and two sons — Sarthak (19),who pursuing his BBA,and Samarth (22),in second year MBBS.

Sarthak told police that Tandon had approached his father in the past claiming to be Sangeeta’s husband. But Sangeeta denied any relationship.

‘He taught us interventional cardiology skills,we couldn’t start his heart again’

In a kind of twisted irony,interventional cardiologist Dr Sanjeev Dhawan died due to a “single bullet piercing the heart”.

His colleagues at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital say when Dr Dhawan was brought to the hospital,a few hours after his shift ended the previous night,they felt “helpless” as the heart was damaged.

“He taught so many of us,these deft skills in interventional cardiology,but we could do nothing to get his heart started again,” Dr J P S Sawhney,Chairman at Department of Cardiology and Dr Dhawan’s colleague for 20 years,told Newsline.

His autopsy report said the left ventricle was damaged “irreparably by a single bullet”.

“He loved solving mysteries,clinical mysteries of the human heart,” Dr Sawhney said.

From valve replacements and critical stent insertions,to one of his last surgeries of supervising an “artificial” heart placement — a device to replace a patient’s fast deteriorating heart — Dr Dhawan was steering the interventional cardiology division of his hospital since he joined as a junior consultant in 1992.

His rise in the hospital,according to colleagues,was meteoric. From junior to senior consultant in five years,Dr Dhawan was designated as the vice-chairperson of the cardiology division about five years ago.

“He was one of the senior-most in the hospital,yet he was the most approachable to his patients. Dr Dhawan put up his mobile number on the boards,and was always available for the smallest of queries,” a colleague said.

Born on February 10,1961,Dr Dhawan completed his medical education from King George Medical College in Lucknow. After his MBBS in 1984,he did his his post-graduate specialisation with an MD (Internal Medicine) in 1988. This was closely followed by a super-specialisation with a Doctorate of Medicine in Cardiology in 1990 from the same college.

His first job was a brief stint at AIIMS,as assistant professor in cardiology,after which he joined Ganga Ram.

His colleagues remember him as a “warm” doctor,always ready with clinical advice.

“He had so many new ideas about the expansion of the team,new interventions,new ways to better ourselves. Dr Dhawan was a very social person with a helping nature. With his sad demise,we have lost a brilliant colleague,” said Dr D S Rana,Chairman (Board of Management ) of the hospital.

With over 50 publications in national and international journals,Dr Dhawan also had an avid interest in pediatric cardiology and had authored chapters in at least three textbooks on the discipline.

He was a national examiner under the Diplomate of National Board cardiology programme. One of the programs he spearheaded in his department was the clinical investigations.

According to sources,he was the principal investigator for the hospital in over 20 multi-centric ongoing international trials in interventional procedures in cardiology.

“He brought the attitude of a classic teaching specialist with him,and we inculcated it in our department. He was always training younger colleagues and was a national level examiner,” a senior cardiologist said.

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