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Docs turn bribe specialists

india Updated: May 25, 2007 01:43 IST

Two doctors were arrested on Wednesday on charges of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 for treating an eight-year-old patient. The duo was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) at a nursing home while they were allegedly accepting the bribe from a the boy’s father, who is a hawker.

The two have been identified as Ashok Rathod (53) head of paediatric department of J.J Hospital — whose brother is an additional sessions judge — and Shalakha Patil (33), a medical officer at the Citrus Nursing Home in Dharavi.

In April, Sion resident Jamil Khan had taken his son Jaan Mohammad to the nursing home after he started vomiting and complained of high fever. When the boy’s health failed to improve after a week, Patil asked Jamil to take him to JJ Hospital.

On May 2, the boy was admitted to the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with typhoid. He was to be discharged a fortnight later. Patil, who had been monitoring his treatment, told Jamil that the boy had not recovered and should not be discharged. She told Jamil to pay her Rs 5,000 more for the treatment. Rathod reiterated this when he was approached by Jamil.

Jamil approached the ACB after being asked to cough up over and above the minimum charges by a doctor of a government hospital. “I was anyways upset over my son’s health for which I had already spent a lot of money,” said Jamil, who earns Rs 100-150 a day.

ACB officials laid a trap at Citrus Nursing Home where Patil called Jamil with the money. After receiving Rs 5,000, she called Rathod to confirm receipt of payment.

Additional Commissioner of Police (ACB) Pradnya Sarvade, said: “Patil, who worked at JJ Hospital before setting up her private practice, was friends with Rathod. It is possible they are involved in other such cases. We are investigating whether some kind of nexus existed between doctors of private and government hospitals.”

Meanwhile, JJ Hospital has started an internal inquiry into the matter. The duo has been remanded in custody till May 26.

Email author: jyoti.shelar@hindustantimes.com