Wanted American chiropractor offering services to devotees in city gurdwara

Randall John Cafferty was arrested in Bengaluru in 2017 after notice by Interpol regarding malpractice case in Indonesia; he’s now awaiting outcome of an extradition trial

April 11, 2018 01:21 am | Updated 01:22 am IST - New Delhi

A wanted American chiropractor, suspected of malpractice that led to the death of a patient in Indonesia, is currently housed in a Delhi gurdwara where he offers his chiropractic service to anyone who needs a bone adjustment.

Randall John Cafferty, who has had a troubled professional history, is currently facing extradition trial in a Delhi court. Out on bail and low on cash, he left the comfort of his hotel and is putting up at Gurdwara Moti Bagh Sahib for the past five days.

“I have been helping with cleaning the kitchen and preparing breakfast. I have also offered my chiropractic service to some of the people who are staying at the gurdwara,” Mr. Cafferty said.

Fled Indonesia in 2015

Mr. Cafferty had fled Indonesia for U.S. soon after the death of his 32-year-old patient Allya Siska Nadya on August 7, 2015. He was arrested immediately after he landed in India in September last year, due to a red corner notice issued by Interpol.

He was locked up in Tihar for four months before being released on bail by a local court.

“You have no idea how hard it is. It was tough to be the only American in jail. I was ill-treated. I was looked upon as a freak,” Mr. Cafferty said adding: “I spent four months in jail here for a crime I didn’t commit in India”.

The 57-year-old said he was able to bounce back using his skills as a chiropractor. “I managed to turn around the situation after I started helping people [lodged inside the jail] through my services,” he said.

Time in jail

During his period in jail, Mr. Cafferty claimed he adjusted the bones of over 2,000 inmates, with the permission of the jail authorities.

Terming the medical negligence case against him in Indonesia as “completely bogus”, Mr. Cafferty said: “there was no death certificate. No autopsy performed. No record of the doctor on duty”.

Following his case, the Indonesian government had reportedly initiated a crackdown on chiropractic clinics run by foreigners in the country.

No work in the U.S.

Mr. Cafferty claimed that though he had returned to the safety of his home in the U.S., due to lack of any extradition treaty between the U.S. and Indonesia, his life took a turn for the worse. “I was unable to find work in my profession because of all the negative publicity,” he said. He then stumbled upon an ad for a chiropractor in Bengaluru in January 2017.

However, he was arrested as soon as he landed at the Bengaluru airport. Asked why he took the risk of coming to India, Mr. Cafferty said that he had “studied the extradition treaty between India and Indonesia. If there is an unfair trial, the Indian judicial system will discharge the case. Therefore, I took the risk”.

Though most of his contacts in India’s chiropractic community have turned a cold shoulder, Mr. Cafferty is hopeful of making kind of arrangement to work at another gurdwara in the Capital, which has an attached hospital.

Mr. Cafferty said he has adjusted to the “dormitory experience” at the gurdwara where he is sleeping alongside other men in a small hall.

‘Have no one to talk to’

Though he is getting free shelter, food and washing facilities at the gurdwara, Mr. Cafferty said he longs for a conversation with friends, which are now limited to few WhatsApp messages. “I am finding it hard to socialise here because of the language barrier,” he said.

He now awaits the outcome of the extradition trial, which in India can turn out to be a long-drawn process.

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