Five of the eight doctors accused of fraudulently obtaining licences for medical practice in connivance with middlemen and unknown officials of the Medical Council of India (MCI) were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday. They purportedly possess primary medical qualifications from Russia and China.
The agency registered the case on the basis of source information that some doctors were into medical practice on the basis of MCI registrations obtained on the basis of false documents and office record entries.
Investigations revealed that at least three of the accused doctors had been working at government hospitals in Gujarat, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.
“During preliminary interrogation, some of the accused have confessed to the crime. While seven of them claim to have primary medical qualifications from institutions in Russia, one is said to have done medical studies in China.
Screening test bypassed
As per rules, those with foreign degrees are required to undertake a screening test conducted twice by an autonomous body, National Board of Examination. It is only after a candidate qualifies the test that the MCI issues a registration certificate that is mandatory for medical practice in India,” said a CBI official.
While five of the accused were arrested in Kerala, West Bengal and Gujarat, the other suspects are being questioned.
According to the agency, the accused doctors did not clear the test and instead approached some unknown MCI officials through middlemen, who charged commissions ranging from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.20 lakh per head for the job.
“In conspiracy with these officials, computer records in the MCI registration office were fudged through false entries and on that basis, registration certificates were issued to the doctors. The verification in respect of the degrees obtained by the doctors from medical institutions abroad was shown to have been conducted much before date of submission of their applications to the MCI seeking registration,” the official said.
Accordingly searches were conducted on the official and residential premises of the accused persons at 12 places in Asansol (West Bengal); Meerut (Uttar Pradesh); Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh); Aurangabad (Maharashtra); Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam (Kerala); Vadodra, Mehsana and Ahmedabad (Gujarat); and in Chhattisgarh.
Computer details siezed
While searches were also carried on the premises of a Meerut-based medical practitioner suspected to be operating as a middleman, computer records at the Dwarka office of MCI in Delhi have also been seized for scrutiny.
“Further investigations may lead to unearthing of a chain of middlemen involved in facilitating issuance of MCI registration certificates to people with medical degrees from abroad,” the official added.