Bhopal: Health ministry steps in amid AIIMS controversy

  • Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Jun 04, 2015 17:06 IST

Politics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhopal has become murkier with infighting among its top brass reaching the doorstep of the Union health ministry.

After AIIMS Bhopal director’s resignation was accepted on May 21, the bitter rivalry between deputy director administration (DDA) Rituraj Singh and administrative officer (AO) Sanjay Singh Chauhan took a turn for the worse.

Chauhan, whose deputation ended on May 10, in a letter, alleged that the DDA relieved him despite the fact that he could only be relieved by the Union health ministry.

Not to be outdone, Rituraj Singh on Wednesday wrote a six-page letter to the ministry that read: “…there is a total breakdown of ‘administrative machinery’ at AIIMS, Bhopal, and no office protocol is being followed besides there being no defined distribution of Power, Functions and Duties in spite of clear cut directives of ministry of health and family welfare.”

Explaining the grounds on which he relieved Chauhan, Rituraj Singh said the action was taken in ‘good faith’ in the absence of “absconding director Sandeep Kumar” and in compliance with a 2006 circular of the Department of Personnel And Training (DOPT).

He says he intimated the Union ministry of his decision on May 10, and proceeded to relieve the AO on May 11 when no orders to the contrary were given in response.

Claiming that his life was under danger, Rituraj Singh claims in the letter that he was assaulted by Chauhan on May 27 and that there was an “imminent threat to his life.” HT has copies of both letters.

On May 12, Chauhan had written a letter to the Union health ministry informing them that he had been relieved without the knowledge of the director or the Union health ministry.

Union health ministry undersecretary on May 29 responded in a letter to DDA Rituraj Singh saying that "such an act amounts to misconduct on your part and attract explanation as to the circumstances which led you to resort to issuing relieving order of an officer who is working on a project cell of this ministry.”

The letter directs Rituraj Singh to submit his explanation as to why he relieved Chauhan without the authorisation of the Union health ministry. The letter further reads, “needless to mention, action is at hand in regard to retention or otherwise as regards the services of SS Chauhan at AIIMS Bhopal.”

Breakdown of ‘administrative machinery’

The controversy at AIIMS Bhopal revolves around the relieving of its number two in its administration, administrative officer Sanjay Singh Chauhan, by the number one, deputy director administration Rituraj Singh, on May 11.

Chauhan protested arguing that the DDA lacked authority to relieve him, while Rituraj Singh said it was done in ‘good faith.’ Chauhan’s deputation ended on May 10, following which Chauhan wrote the Union health ministry on May 12.

The ministry then sought an explanation from Rituraj Singh on May 29, who responded with a detailed six-page letter on Wednesday.

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