By Chaitanya Marpakwar |
A day after bribe demand clip, Cooper doc suspended
Casualty Medical Officer Niranjan Kshirsagar had taken Rs 7,000 to issue a death certificate; he claims it was payment for his fees
A day after an audio recording allegedly of civic-run Cooper hospital’s doctors demanding a bribe of Rs 10,000 to issue a death certificate went viral, the BMC on Tuesday suspended one of the doctors, pending an inquiry.
The doctor, Casualty Medical Officer Niranjan Kshirsagar, claimed innocence, insisting that the payment was for his fees to issue the document.
At no civic- or state-run hospital are doctors to be paid privately.
On the audio file, doctors said to be from the Juhu hospital were heard demanding a bribe of
Rs 10,000 to bypass Covid-19 red tape and issue a death certificate to the family of an Andheri resident who died of a heart attack on Sunday. They doctors told the family that they would face multiple hurdles, causing a days-long delay, owing to tight scrutiny of all deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, settled for payment of Rs 7,000 and directed them to another doctor who could issue the death certificate promptly.
Yusuf Jafri Ali Shaikh, a family member who said he was present during the demand for bribe, had claimed that a private doctor had issued the document, but a preliminary inquiry revealed that he was, in fact, attached to Cooper hospital.
Ameet Satam, Andheri West MLA who had sent the audio file to Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, demanded a high-level probe. “This has the makings of a racket. The BMC must also question the other doctors who directed the family to Dr Kshirsagar,” he said.
Dr Kshirsagar, who was not on duty on Sunday night, said he called a call around 2 am on Monday from the family, requesting him to issue a death certificate. “They didn’t want a postmortem examination. I did not ask for a bribe. The Rs 7,000 I took from them was for my fees, which included charge for late night consultation.”
Dr Kshirsagar, who said he has never been accused of bribery in his 15 years of service, said he had at first asked the family to visit a local doctor. “Since they didn’t find any, I helped them out. I will resign soon; I am being punished for helping them out. I am being framed,” he alleged.
According to the man’s family, Cooper hospital doctors claimed they’d have to wait for days to get the document; FILE PICSettle for Rs 7,000 bribe to issue death certificate of a man who died of a heart attack; hospital orders probe
The BMC-run Cooper hospital in Juhu on Monday launched an inquiry into an audio recording allegedly of its doctors demanding a bribe of Rs 10,000 to bypass Covid-19 red tape and issue a death certificate.
According to a complaint filed with the BMC by Andheri West MLA Ameet Satam, Abu Bakar Gulab Khan, a resident of Gaondevi in the area, died of a heart attack on Sunday night. When his family approached Cooper hospital for a death certificate, the doctors told them that they would face multiple hurdles owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, said Satam. “The doctors demanded Rs 10,000 for an urgent death certificate, and settled for Rs 7,000,” said the BJP MLA, who has sent the now viral audio file recorded by the family to Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi.
Yusuf Jafri Ali Shaikh, a relative of Khan who claimed to have been present during the demand for bribe, alleged that the doctors told the family that a death certificate would take three days to be issued, given the current focus on fighting Covid-19. “First, they told us the postmortem examination will take time,” said Shaikh.
Cooper Hospital said that the inquiry report will be submitted to additional municipal commissioner for health; PIC: SATYAJIT DESAI
He said the family was told that the police would also launch a probe into the death to ascertain if it had any Covid-19 link. “The doctors said that would cause a further delay. They told us to either approach a specific private doctor to get a death certificate or our family doctor. Our family doctor was not available. So, we spoke to the private doctor, paid Rs 7,000 and got a death certificate.”
BMC officials said the private doctor Shaikh referred to was also attached to Cooper hospital.
The doctors said the police will launch a probe to check if the death had any Covid-19 link. They told us to either approach a specific private doctor to get a death certificate or our family doctor—Yusuf Jafri Ali Shaikh, a relative
Dr Pinakin Gujjar, dean of Cooper hospital, confirmed that an investigation has been launched. “We will send the report to the additional municipal commissioner for health,” he added.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, health, said strict action will be taken against anyone found guilty.
Satam demanded that the doctors who demanded the bribe be suspended immediately. “I will file a complaint with the anti-corruption bureau. The doctors must be prosecuted.”
courtesy Mumbai Mirror