The Delhi High Court on Saturday allowed Dr Naresh Trehan unrestricted access to the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre (EHIRC), a day after the hospital’s majority stake-holder Fortis Healthcare removed him from the post of executive director.
The court allowed the cardiologist to carry out medical duties at the hospital as usual. But it was not clear if he still held the post of executive director. Dr Trehan said he was yet to go through the court order.
Acting on a petition filed by Anil Nanda, who had challenged his elder brother Rajan Nanda’s decision to sell the majority stake in EHIRC to Fortis Healthcare in 2005, Justice Gita Mittal said: "(Trehan) will have unrestricted access to the hospital." The court fixed August 6 as the next date of hearing.
The court order followed a string of events and high drama at the hospital since morning. Dr Trehan was barred from entering the hospital, which led to protests by relatives of his patients. A group of angry relatives barged into the hospital and broke the lock on the doctor’s office.
Fortis filed a complaint of vandalism against Trehan at the Okhla police station.
"I could not have deserted my patients. They have a right to be treated by me. I would have continued going to the hospital as usual. The hospital does not have the right to remove me. My contract is till 2010," said Trehan, who owns 10 per cent stake in the hospital. Fortis owns the rest 90 per cent stake.
Earlier in the day, Fortis Healthcare managing director Shivinder Mohan Singh told reporters Dr Trehan had been removed because of "conflict in interests".
"While at the helm of EHIRC, Dr Trehan was more focussed on the setting up of his dream project — Medicity — in Gurgaon, in which he owns 51 per cent stake," Singh later told Hindustan Times. "Since the time Fortis Healthcare acquired the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, we were in dialogue wit Dr Trehan to arrive at an amicable solution to resolve the issue. But Dr Trehan was apparently not interested in solving the problem."
But Dr Trehan said his removal was an example of "arm-twisting" by Fortis. "I’m sure they wouldn’t have felt any conflict of interest had their attempts to forge a partnership with Medicity been successful," he said. Talks for the partnership had failed, confirmed Singh.