Madan Mitra tries to bounce back into the reckoning using overcharging in hospitals platform
Following the groundswell of opinion in favour of the chief minister who took a tough stand just 48 hours ago against private sector hospital overcharging patients, the former minister threatened Apollo bosses with dire consequences in front of TV cameras.cities Updated: Feb 25, 2017 13:39 IST
Pushed into isolation and virtually shunned by Trinamool Congress leaders ever since his arrest by the CBI in December 2014 in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam, Madan Mitra, former sports and transport minister and once a confidante of Mamata Banerjee, sprang back to steal the limelight on Friday.
He charged Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, one of the biggest private healthcare centres in the state, of extorting money from the family of an accident victim and forced the authorities to waive off Rs 7.23 lakh that was billed over seven days.
The victim, 32-year-old Sanjay Roy, died at SSKM hospital on Thursday night shortly after he was shifted there from Apollo Hospital where his family was allegedly forced to keep property deeds and fixed deposit certificates as “security” since they had no more money. The family alleged that Apollo authorities refused to release the patient for four hours till the bills were met.
Apollo spokesperson, Joy Bose, however said the refund was made on “humanitarian ground” and claimed that the family had “voluntarily” offered the documents.
Significantly, Mitra achieved the feat by making a phone call to Rana Dasgupta, the hospital’s COO, in front of TV cameras precisely two days after chief minister Mamata Banerjee sounded a strong warning to executives of private hospitals and asked them to “ensure proper treatment instead of making money.” The meeting, where she addressed people individually, citing specific complaints and even criminals cases, created a sensation across Bengal as TV channels aired it live.
“You are going to face the worst consequences. Your CEO, Rupali Basu keeps threatening that she will shut down the hospital and thousands will lose jobs. I am asking you to shut down now because what you only are running is a crematorium. We have a better crematorium at Keoratala,” Mitra shouted into his phone and called Apollo management “blood-sucking Dracula” while a large crowd and the media watched him in his old avatar after a long hiatus.
Ever since his release from judicial custody in September 2016, Mitra has been rarely seen in public.
Located close to Mitra’s Bhawanipore residence, SSKM Hospital, the biggest government-run medical college and hospital, has come to be known as his backyard over the years. Mitra not only formed the worker’s union there during Left regime but also helped thousands of people get admission and treatment, an act that earned him accolades and die-hard fans.