The Rajasthan government signed a memorandum of understanding with a private Portuguese biomedical research organisation, the Champalimaud Foundation, to set up a state-of-the-art cancer institute in Jaipur, on October 2, 2014 — about two months after Lalit Modi’s wife Minal was treated at the Lisbon-based Champalimaud Center for the Unknown.
Rajasthan Health Minister Rajendra Singh Rathore Tuesday said the state government was unaware of the connection. “We were not aware that Lalit Modi’s wife was treated at the same Portuguese hospital with which Rajasthan government signed an agreement,” he told reporters.
Modi, however, said in an interview Tuesday that Raje had accompanied his wife to that hospital in 2012-2013 when he could not.
In the presence of Raje and Foundation President Leonor Beleza, the MoU was signed by Member of the Board of Administration of the Champalimaud Foundation, João Silveira Botelho, and the Principal Secretary for Medical Education in Rajasthan, J C Mohanty.
“The cancer centre will benefit the state hugely, particularly those who cannot bear hefty cost of treatment. The cooperation in this regard will also bolster relations with Portugal,” Raje had said in an official statement at the time. “People suffer a major psychological blow when they come to know about this disease. For laymen, its cure is expensive. A lot of people go to Mumbai and other places for treatment even though they cannot afford its cost and it is a very frightening experience for them. Now, after the opening of the cancer institute in Jaipur, they will get good treatment here.”
A plot of land approximately 35,000 square metres in size, located on the Rajasthan Health Science University premises in Jaipur’s Pratap Nagar, was allotted for the institute right away. It was agreed upon that the foundation would participate in technical collaboration for the establishment of the centre as well as research in the field of oncology treatment.
“This cancer centre will offer the most advanced facilities for treatment of cancer patients at affordable cost. This includes the latest radiotherapy equipment in order to provide the type of cutting-edge radiation therapy solutions currently being pioneered at the Champalimaud Clinical Centre. The foundation will provide training to selected service providers, technical support in identifying other centres in the state for Phase II operations, ensure implementation of advanced clinical procedures…,” a statement on the foundation’s official website states.
“In the state of Rajasthan, facilities equipped with modern linear accelerators in the public sector are available only in two divisions (Jaipur and Bikaner)… Rajasthan has the need for more cancer facilities, with a significant and pressing increase in radiotherapy equipment and treatment to cater to present demand. With this in mind, cancer patients from the state would not be required to go outside Rajasthan for oncology treatment,” the foundation’s official statement added.
“Patients below the poverty line will be treated free of cost and other patients will be charged minimum. This cancer centre…will be one of a kind in India. This institution will aspire to be a centre of excellence for cancer treatment promoting prevention, cure, rehabilitation, palliation and advancement,” it said.