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Jail doctor manipulated records to send Chhagan Bhujbal to St George: Probe

A senior official told The Indian Express that Dr Ghule fudged the records to facilitate the NCP leader’s admission to the state-run hospital on April 18.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
Updated: April 22, 2016 4:58:45 pm
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A VIGILANCE inquiry to probe why former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, accused in the Maharashtra Sadan construction scam, was admitted to St George hospital despite complaining only of a dental problem, has indicted Dr Rahul Ghule, medical officer with Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail. The home department said Thursday Dr Ghule was indicted for “manipulating records to help prisoner Chhagan Bhujbal”.

A senior official told The Indian Express that Dr Ghule fudged the records to facilitate the NCP leader’s admission to the state-run hospital on April 18. “If a prisoner complains of any health complication, we take it seriously. However, in this case the problem was of a dental issue and Bhujbal should have been taken to JJ hospital first. The hospital then decides if the inmate needs to be referred to any other hospital,” the official explained, adding, “We had information against Dr Ghule that he was helping Bhujbal to get admitted at St George after which a vigilance inquiry was conducted.”

Read | Maharashtra Prisons dept to probe why Chhagan Bhujbal was taken to St George, not JJ

Ghule has now been shifted out of the Arthur jail road. Bipin Kumar Singh, IG Prisions, said strict action has been recommended against the doctor.

The inquiry found Dr Ghule guilty of “suspicious conduct” and “manipulating records” to help Bhujbal go to St George hospital for medical examination, in addition to dental check-up, without the knowledge of the prison chief medical officer and the jail superintendent, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi told The Indian Express. “The health department has been requested to terminate his deputation and call him back and also initiate further necessary action against him,” he added.

Ghule, however, refuted the charges and said he would take legal recourse. “I will take the case to court and demand a third party intervention. I will approach the Bombay High Court,” he told The Indian Express.

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Interestingly, Dr Ghule had recently approached the home department alleging corruption within the jail premises. In a three-page letter sent on April 6, he had claimed that a senior officer was extending preferential treatment to inmates, at a price. DIG Rajendra Dhamne has been ordered to conduct an inquiry into the matter. “Dr Ghule has levelled allegations against some senior officers attached with the jail and it will be probed,” said Bakshi.

Dr Ghule, meanwhile, said the decision to send Bhujbal for a medical check-up to St George hospital was taken by jail officials, and that he had only accompanied the NCP leader. The requisition slip, which said Bhujbal had been referred to St George dental hospital and St George’s medicine unit was, however, signed by Ghule.

A requisition slip of Arthur Road jail has options of various public hospitals, such as JJ, KEM, Kasturba and St George. In this case, a tick was marked against St George hospital.

“Though we have a dentist visiting the jail, it was the superintendent’s call to send him (Bhujbal) for a check-up. Since he was already being taken to the dental hospital, we combined another check-up with the hospital’s medicine unit,” Ghule said.

According to him, Bhujbal is a patient of hypertension, diabetes and asthma. “There is no doubt that he did require medical attention,” he said.

St George, however, does not have a cardiology department. On Thursday, a team of cardiologists from JJ hospital conducted a 2D echo on Bhujbal, who is currently admitted in an intensive care unit of St George hospital, on Thursday. A team of five policemen guards the entry to the ward where 10 other patients are admitted along with Bhujbal. His bed is also guarded by two policemen. “He had not sustained a heart attack during admission as we earlier suspected. His blood pressure rose due to hypertension. Once he stabilises, he will be shifted to the general ward,” said Dr J B Bhavani, medical superintendent at the hospital.

The former deputy chief minister is now undergoing treatment for heart rate variation, diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. According to head of medicine unit, Dr Rohan Sequira, Bhujbal is recovering.

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