With the Delhi High Court granting permission to Ketan Desai, former President of the Medical Council of India (MCI), to travel to Vancouver to take over as president of the World Medical Association (WMA) next week, the MCI has now approached the world body to “withhold the move to hand over charge of the prestigious body to Ketan Desai as he stands indicted in India.”

It has also asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prevent him from travelling abroad.

In a letter addressed to Otmar Kloiber, secretary-general of the WMA, the MCI has said that Dr. Desai, who was arrested by the CBI on charges of corruption earlier this year, “has no authority in law to represent the MCI or the doctors of India in the said conference.”

The WMA is an international organisation of physicians and represents medical councils across the world.

The MCI alleged that Dr. Desai had fraudulently obtained the orders from the honourable court granting him permission to attend the conference. “It would be a travesty of justice if Dr. Desai, who has brought disgrace to the medical profession, is allowed to take charge as president of the WMA for which he got elected last year while he was the President of the MCI,” said the letter signed by Prasannaraj, Additional Secretary of MCI.

“This news has created a great deal of confusion in the public and serious concern among Indian medical professionals, as if he still represents the medical profession in India and also somehow continues to be associated with the MCI,” the letter said, while suggesting that in all fairness the current chairperson of the Board of Governors of the MCI, S.K. Sarin, should take over the coveted position as he would be able to provide valuable inputs and leadership to the august body.

Dr. Desai was elected to the post in October 2009 through an election at the WMA annual meeting here in New Delhi. But when he was arrested by the CBI in April, following which he had to give up his post at the MCI, he did not relinquish the WMA post.

Although the WMA had information about Dr. Desai's arrest, it extended an invitation after reportedly being “informed” that he was freed by the court and no criminal charges pending against him.

The WMA did not take any steps on Dr. Desai since there was no official communication from the MCI in this regard and he had hitherto not been convicted by any court.

The MCI was superseded through an amendment in the Indian Medical Council Act that came into force on May 15 and taken over by the six-member Board of Governors.

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