The Medical Council of India (MCI) has suspended the licence of its tainted former chief, Dr Ketan Desai, said a council official.
The council announced the suspension in a letter to Desai on Saturday, saying his licence to practice medicine has been suspended "during the pendency of appeal before Ethics Committee of Board of Governors in Super-session of Medical Council of India".
"A final decision on the issue will be taken only after providing adequate opportunity to Dr Ketan Desai to represent his stand before the committee," read the MCI Ethics Committee proceedings.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested Desai and two others in April on charges of accepting Rs2 crore as bribe to grant recognition to a medical college in Punjab.
Confirming the news, Dr SK Sarin, chairman, Board of Governors, MCI, said: "His licence has been suspended and he also has been served a showcause notice by the committee. He is a qualified doctor, but he cannot practice in the interim period when the case is with the committee," said Sarin.
According to MCI's Code of Ethics and Regulation, "a doctor indicted for moral trepidation or criminal offence" must lose his licence to practice medicine.
Besides temporarily debarring Desai from practicing medicine, the order also banned him from participating in any medical conference and association.
Desai was granted bail last week to take part in the World Medical Association (WMA) conference to be held in Canada this week.
He was scheduled to attend the conference to be held between October 13 and 16. Desai is the president-elect of the WMA.
"Ideally, he should follow the decision of the council and the Ethics Committee, but ultimately the choice is his. He is a very senior doctor, and it is for him to decide whether he should go or not," said Sarin.
Desai was issued the suspension order following a complaint by Dr Kunal Saha, founder of People for Better Treatment (PBT), to MCI on October 8.
"Soon after his arrest, I had filed a complaint with the Gujarat Medical Council (GMC), demanding immediate cancellation of his licence. I waited for almost six months. However, when the GMC didn't act, I filed a complaint with the MCI two days ago," Saha Said.