January 31, 2015 2:47:09 am
SUCCUMBING to the pressure from ministerial colleagues, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Friday ordered the transfer of Kurukshetra Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Vandana Bhatia, who had recorded the ticking off she had received from Social Welfare and Empowerment Minister Krishan Bedi. Ravinder Singh has been appointed as the new Kurukshetra CMO while Bhatia is yet to be handed a posting.
Following the taping of the phone call, there had been calls for Bhatia’s suspension from Krishan Bedi and Health Minister Anil Vij. Bedi had been miffed that the CMO had ‘ignored’ his calls. Khattar was under tremendous pressure from Vij and Bedi for immediate action against the doctor. He was briefed by the ministers throughout Friday and in the evening after a Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister said he had received complaints from both ministers. At about 9.30 pm, he ordered Bhatia’s transfer.
The doctor was not aware about her transfer when The Indian Express contacted her. She said she was shocked that a decision had come about without listening to her side of the story. “This seems unfair on the face of it. I am surprised how a non-issue was first converted into an issue after the Health Minister made a public statement and recommended my suspension. The whole system has then got together to hit at me,” Vandana Bhatia said.
She said she was sent a letter by the department following her complaint on January 28 to which she had replied. “I was expecting a fair deal especially when the matter was taken up at the top level and hoped that I shall be given time to present my version. There can be complaints but then why these have to be taken on their face value,” she added.
Sources said Khattar, already facing resistance from three senior ministers, could not hold off the pressure. He first wanted to delay action pending inquiry but then ministers made it a point of prestige. “If officers behave like this then who would listen to us?,” one of the ministers reportedly told Khattar.
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