September 19, 2010

HC clears decks for CBI probe against Pondy medical college

Paving the way for resumption of CBI probe into a Puducherry-based medical college's role in the multi-crore scam involving former MCI chairman Ketan Desai, the Madras high court has vacated an interim stay on the investigation.

On August 17, Justice CT Selvam had stayed the CBI investigation into a case involving Sri Lakshmi Narayana Institute of Medical Sciences, which had been named as accused along with Ketan Desai. On August 31, however, he vacated the stay, after the CBI's special public prosecutor N Chandrasekaran submitted that the central agency should be allowed to proceed with the investigation as it involved a powerful person like Desai, who has now been removed from the post.

On its part, the CBI gave an undertaking that the staff members, students and the management would not be harassed in any manner or called for an inquiry pending further hearing till September 7.

The CBI registered a criminal case against the college and Desai on May 21, under various provisions of IPC as well as the Prevention of Corruption Act. According to the FIR, the two accused colluded with each other, resulting in the grant of MCI approval for the institution despite 12 deficiencies pointed out by the inspection committee. They together had cheated the Government of India by not providing the minimum standard of medical education.

The college rushed to the high court for a stay on the investigation and to quash the FIR on the ground that the case had been registered based on a "mere source information, without any preliminary investigation/report."

The five-year-old college was inspected 10 times during the period, and the CBI had taken up the case without jurisdiction and usurping the powers of the Union health ministry, it said, adding that the grant of permission was not the act of a single person.

Assailing the interim order and explaining the seriousness of the case, the CBI's counter said the case was registered on the basis of investigation, which clearly indicated that the requisite infrastructural facilities were not available in the college. Noting that the investigating agency must be allowed to discharge its duties and file the final report, it said that during the investigating stage the agency should not be forced to rely upon only the selective documents submitted by the suspect.

The CBI probe so far has been done not only as per the established law and procedure, but also to protect the interests of students studying MBBS course and to prevent any possible injustice caused to the public, the counter said.

Link: Original Article

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