Hours after the Presidential assent to a bill enabling his removal, the government tonight sacked eminent cardiac surgeon P Venugopal as AIIMS Director with whom Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss was locked in a long-running turf war in the prestigious institution.
T D Dogra, who heads Forensic Medicines and Toxicology Department and is next to Venugopal in seniority, was appointed AIIMS' acting chief.
The dismissal of 66-year-old Venugopal came shortly after President Pratibha Patil signed the controversial bill passed by Parliament two days ago fixing the age limit of 65 years for AIIMS Director, seen as a move to ease out the cardiac surgeon.
Venugopal's removal came even as Supreme Court today fixed for Monday the hearing of his petition challenging Parliament's decision to fix 65 years as the superannuation age for the post of Institute's director.
"Dogra is the senior most physician after Venugopal and hence he has been appointed as the acting Director with effect from this evening," a senior Health Ministry official said.