Hours after the AIIMS Institute body recommended the dismissal of Director P Venugopal, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said that there was no personal clash and that Venugopal would continue in the post till the government takes a decision.
"There is no personal clash. We all have high regards for Venugopal," Ramadoss told reporters.
Refusing to go into details of the recommendations of the meeting, he said, "I am not saying removal or not removal. The Institute body has recommended something. Once the government takes a decision, I can comment."
Denying the charge about his interference in the functioning of AIIMS, Ramadoss said, "I will be the last person to trample on the autonomy. I know what autonomy is. But at the same time, I would not shy away from my responsibilities. I am answerable to the Parliament."
He nodded when asked specificlly whether Venugopal would continue till the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet takes a decision on the recommendation.
"As soon as possible", he said, when asked how soon a decision would be taken on the recommendation.
Asked whether Union Health Secretary PK Hota would take charge in place of Venugopal, the Minister shot back, "From where is the media getting these fancy ideas"?
On doctors going on strike in support of Venugopal, he said that doctors must fulfill their responsibility. "We have seen a lot of strikes. The public is also agitated on the issue".
To a question about Left parties' criticism about his alleged interference in autonomous institutions, Ramadoss said, "Without knowing the intricacy, people are commenting. It's very unfortunate. I will be talking to them".
Asked to comment on reports that his holding the post of President of AIIMS would attract office-of-profit clause, he said that the Health Minister holding the post was in the Act.
He said that the terms of reference of Valiathan Committee to go into the functioning of the AIIMS was yet to be finalised.