65 persons had lost vision in free eye camp

The CBI has registered a case against three doctors of the Joseph Eye Hospital, Tiruchirappalli, among others in connection with the free cataract surgery camp in 2008 which resulted in 65 persons of Villupuram district losing their vision.

The case has been registered against doctors Ashok, Saujanya and Thendran, the hospital management, office-bearers of the Perambalur District Blindness Control Society and unknown Tamil Nadu government servants, for offences including criminal conspiracy, cheating, acting rash and negligently to endanger human life, and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Thorough enquiry

Earlier, the Madras High Court in its order on a writ petition had directed the CBI to conduct a thorough enquiry and submit a detailed report to fix the responsibility on doctors and other officers who were responsible for the incident and initiate criminal prosecution. The court also directed the investigating agency to file a report stating the circumstances under which maximum amount was given to the hospital and in what manner the sum was spent. Accordingly, the agency registered an FIR. It has also submitted a report to the court, through its Special Public Prosecutor, N.Chandrasekaran.

The FIR said the victims belonged to Kadavannur and Nainarpalayam. It said the funds allotted by the Centre to the Tamil Nadu State Blindness Control Society were distributed to the District Blindness Control Society for implementing blindness control programme. The hospital though conducted the free eye camp on July 29, 2008, paid no compensation to the victims. All the claims raised by the hospital during 2008-2009, except for the camp conducted in July 2008 were settled by the District Blindness Control Societiesand about Rs.1.15 crore was paid to the hospital.

The total funds released from the financial year 2007-08 to 2010-11 were Rs.80.59 crore. During 2008-09, Rs.23.25 crore had been released to the State Government. A “huge amount” is learnt to have been released to the hospital.

It was revealed that a few unknown public servants and office-bearers of the Perambalur District Blindness Control Society hatched a conspiracy to cheat the government without properly monitoring funds.