Chief medical officer, Kurukshetra, Vandana Bhatia, who on Thursday submitted a recording of her conversation with Haryana social welfare and empowerment minister Krishan Kumar Bedi, has been transferred again in a period of less than two months.
Well placed sources informed HT that orders were issued from the chief minister’s office on Friday to shift Vandana Bhatia out of Kurukshetra. Though there was no information about her place of posting, it was learnt that Dr Raminder Singh has been shifted in her place.
The minister on Wednesday had blamed Bhatia of gross misconduct with him and demanded her transfer to some other district following a telephonic conversation with her.
Health minister Anil Vij had reportedly sent the recommendation for her transfer to the chief minister’s for approval.
Meanwhile, there were also speculations during the day that she had been suspended, regarding which Bhatia had told HT, “I have learnt about my suspension through the television news channels but I have not received any official information. I am in a state of shock over the development where I was deprived of a fair chance of being listened by the government.”
Bedi, a first time legislator from Shahbad in Kurukshetra, had accused the civil surgeon of not attending his official telephone calls and being rude to him. Bhatia told HT that she was hurt by the minister’s “disrespectful attitude” towards her. She also claimed that the minister had falsely accused her of hurling a schedule caste slur on him.
She acknowledged recording her telephonic conversation with the minister on January 27, which had been submitted to her superiors “for further use”.
“It is a personal case of once bitten twice shy. The way I was put to embarrassment (by Vij) and transferred from Karnal to Kurukshetra, I was extra cautious while speaking to anyone,” she said while denying any role behind the taped conversation being leaked to the media. While paying a surprise visit to Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College on December 15, Vij had publically rebuked Bhatia for the poor functioning of the facility and ordered her transfer.
“KCGMC has a separate government-appointed management and the civil surgeon’s office has no role in its day to day functioning. Unfortunately the alleged poor maintenance was cited as a reason for my transfer. I was deeply hurt when I was treated shabbily in the presence of the media and the general public,” she said.
However, she clarified that transfer was the government’s prerogative but one should not be subjected to it on unfounded grounds.
Denying the allegation of any misconduct with the minister, Bhatia said that instead of tarnishing her image before the media, the minister could have asked for a written explanation.
In the 3.28-minute recorded conversation, a CD of which is in HT’s possession, the minister was heard scolding the civil surgeon for not attending his calls for “important matters”.
After the caller, identified as Bedi, stated about complaints against the civil surgeon by her subordinate staff, Bhatia asked the minister to take whatever action he likes and said, “You are threatening me”.