The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday came down heavily on a Gurgaon-based private hospital for allegedly aiding a politician to evade arrest in a murder case. It has now ordered a CBI probe into the matter.
What perplexed the apex court was that the private hospital allowed former Indian National Lok Dal MLA from Meham, Balbir Singh, to remain in hospital for more than a year even though he hadn’t paid the bills.
According to the hospital, the former MLA owes it around Rs.29 lakh. He was admitted on April 11, 2014 and was discharged only on May 1, 2015 after the SC summoned the hospital’s medical director.
“Doctors are the last word on an accused’s medical condition. Courts are helpless when they see medical certificates and give relief. We had heard of doctors issuing medical certificates forRs. 10 or 20 to those who wanted a leave of absence from work. But in this case you have given shelter to a fugitive wanted in a murder case,” a bench of Justice TS Thakur and Justice BS Bhanumati told the hospital’s MD Munish Prabhakar.
The SC had on October 24, 2013, cancelled the bail given to Singh by the Punjab and Haryana high court. Singh was accused of indiscriminately opening fire at the Kalanaur grain market, leaving left one dead and eight injured on May 5, 2013.
He was asked to surrender, but when he didn’t, the victim’s brother approached the SC again. The petitioner’s advocate Rishi Malhotra accused Singh of hoodwinking the SC order by getting himself admitted to various hospitals. On the court’s direction, Rohtak SP Shashank Anand submitted on January 15 this year that Singh was admitted to PGIMS, Rohtak but since last April was admitted to the Gurgaon hospital.
Haryana’s additional advocate general Rahul Verma alleged that the hospital had refused to discharge the ex-MLA when the police asked for his custody. Prabhakar, who addressed the court directly, claimed that the hospital was unaware of Singh’s involvement in a crime. He claimed the hospital too had initiated legal proceedings to recover the money due from him since the cheque he gave them had bounced.
The bench rebuked Prabhakar and said that it was not possible that the hospital didn’t know that Singh was a murder accused.
The bench, which initially threatened to take Prabhakar in custody, has specifically directed the CBI to ascertain whether the hospital was privy to Singh’s attempt to evade arrest. “What you did is a slur on the medical profession,” it told Prabhakar.