Just one more day is left in the tenure of AIIMS acting director Dr T.D. Dogra, but the government is still to finalise a director for the institute.
Sources in the health ministry revealed that the file proposing Dr R.C. Deka’s name, the present dean and head of ENT department at AIIMS, as the director of the institute is still to get the approval of the prime minister.
Sources said the prime minister is withholding the final signature, as he is unsure about the credentials of Dr Deka. The prime minister’s office had asked Union Health Secretary Naresh Dayal to submit the minutes of the meeting concerning the appointment of the director and also check if there were any Vigilance cases against him.
While Dayal may have given the doctor a clean chit, several senior doctors at the institute are saying the health ministry is overlooking the irregular track record of Dr Deka.
“An AIIMS internal inquiry report and a 2006 RTI report revealed that there were several irregularities in the purchase of cochlear implant systems between May 2002 and 2006,” said a senior faculty member unwilling to be named.
The RTI report reveals the department of ENT under Dr Deka made advance payments to a private firm, without any bank guarantee, against the institute’s purchase procedure.
It also says ENT head Dr Deka himself had prepared the proprietary certificate, which should ideally have come from a neutral source.
Dr Deka refused to comment on the matter. “I would not like to comment as it is a sensitive matter. All questions should be directed to Sailesh Yadav, the deputy director.”
He also said, “AIIMS is not the only institute to have made these purchases. The defence ministry also made the same purchases for all its research and referral hospitals in all three cities at the same prices.”