A woman medical officer in Haryana has recorded a minister ticking her off for not taking his calls, a move that has led to a recommendation for her suspension.
Vandana Bhatia, Kurukshetra’s chief medical officer, and Social Welfare and Empowerment Minister Krishan Bedi have complained separately to Health Minister Anil Vij, who has gone on to recommend Dr Bhatia’s suspension.
In a CD she submitted to the health minister on Thursday, a copy of which has been accessed by The Indian Express, the minister’s PA is first heard asking the doctor why she was not picking up calls. Then minister Bedi is heard complaining that she hadn’t saved his number.
Dr Bhatia says she would save the number now, and explains she couldn’t take the call because she had been busy with Republic Day. The minister keeps ticking her off, she keeps asking what he wished her to do, until Bedi is heard making a derogatory remark. The doctor then retorts, “Are you threatening me?… I am not sitting here to listen to you talk. Take whatever action you want to.”
Dr Bhatia, who joined her post last month, told The Indian Express she would wait for action. “It went a bit too far,” she said.
Minister Bedi did not respond to calls from The Indian Express. Health Minister Vij confirmed it was on Bedi’s complaint that he has recommended Dr Bhatia’s suspension. “How can one record a conversation? This is illegal. You need permission before doing so,” he said.
“It seems she was at fault,” he added. “She had ignored his calls and, when he did reach her, she dared him to take action against her.”
Her complaint too is being held against her. “Following her complaint, I recommended to the Chief Minister that she be suspended for misbehaviour. I also recommended that her headquarters be shifted 100 km from Kurukshetra,” said Vij, who has also recommended an inquiry by an officer of the rank of additional chief secretary.