A Delhi court on Friday allowed the CBI to interrogate Medical Council of India (MCI) president Dr Ketan Desai and two others for allegedly accepting and giving Rs 2 crore bribe in lieu of granting recognition to a medical college.
Terming the offence “grave”, Additional Sessions Judge O.P. Saini said, “The accused (Desai, Kanwaljeet Singh and J.P. Singh) are remanded to CBI custody till April 28.”
The CBI had conducted a raid, which began around 6 p.m. on Thursday, at Dr Desai’s sixth-floor apartment in IMA House at ITO in the Capital and confiscated about 200 documents.
Desai was not in the house during the raid but was later arrested from the MCI campus in Dwarka. His arrest came after his alleged associate J.P. Singh was arrested in Punjab while accepting money from Kanwaljit Singh of Patiala’s Gian Sagar Medical College. The college had applied for its fifth year renewal in 2010.
The CBI has raided six venues in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Patiala to look for more evidence.
During the court trial, the CBI counsel said, “The custodial interrogation of all the three accused is required to unravel the entire nexus. The CBI wants to ascertain as to whether there are more persons and private medical colleges involved.”
The MCI is an autonomous body responsible for maintaining quality and uniform standards of medical education.
It grants permission to start colleges, courses and increase the number of seats, recommends recognition of medical qualifications, registers doctors and maintains the All India Medical Register, where all doctors register to practice in India.
Medical colleges get recognition from the Union Health Ministry on MCI’s recommendation.
“We cannot overrule the MCI decision, as it is the only body with the technical expertise to assess whether a college possesses the required infrastructure, faculty and hospital facilities to train doctors,” said a Union health ministry official, who wished to remain anonymous. May 15, 2010, is the medical council’s deadline for recommending colleges for recognition for the academic year 2010-11.
The country has 300 medical colleges, of which 143 are government and 157 are private.