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Union Minister Sadananda Gowda’s family runs into cash hurdle in Karnataka hospital

Sadananda Gowda’s brother dies, release of body held up until Union minister pays bill by cheque.

Written by Santosh Kumar R B | Bengaluru | Updated: November 23, 2016 12:59:56 pm

The family of Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation D V Sadananda Gowda on Tuesday felt the pinch of demonetisation when a hospital in his home district of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka refused to accept payment of Rs 48,000 in old currency.

Officials at the Kasturba Medical College Hospital in Mangaluru said this happened Tuesday following the death of the minister’s younger brother, D V Baskar Gowda, 54, after a brief illness.

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“My Brother Mr Baskar was admitted in hospital at Mangaluru he passed away after brief illness,” Sadananda Gowda tweeted Tuesday morning.

The minister’s family had, however, faced currency-related difficulties in getting KMC Hospital to clear the medical bills for the treatment and release the body for final rites. Hospital sources said this happened after the family offered Rs 48,000 in old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as part of a final payment of Rs 13 lakh. Authorities at KMC refused to accept the payment in old currency citing government orders.

The minister, who was at the hospital, reportedly sought a written statement from the hospital to declare that they would not accept the payment in old currency notes. The bill was settled finally after the minister issued a cheque and the hospital stated in writing that it cannot accept payments made with old currency as per government directives.

The KMC Hospital’s unit head, Sagir Siddiqui, confirmed this had happened at the hospital prior to the release of the body of the minister’s brother. “Our staff told them that we cannot accept the demonetised notes. Sadananda Gowda sought a written communication in the matter. We have given a written statement saying that we are strictly following the guidance issued by the union government and the RBI.
They later cleared the bill by issuing a cheque,” Siddiqui said when contacted over the phone.

A media secretary for the minister, on the other hand, denied this had happened. “Our minister had instructed the hospital not to remove ventilation support for Bhaskar who was admitted in the hospital due to a liver related illness. He paid around Rs 48,000 at the counter through a cheque to close the bill. The family of the minister did not try to pay the bill with demonetised notes,” media secretary Manjunath Kenyadi said.

Baskar Gowda was a farmer from Sullia in Dakshina Kannada. He was admitted to KMC Hospital around two weeks ago.

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