The Mohali court on Friday remanded Dr Sameer Kaushal, a medical officer in the Punjab health department, in police custody for two days following his arrest for indulging in private practice.
Fifty-year-old Dr Kaushal was arrested following a sting operation wherein he was caught doing private practice by chief parliamentary secretary Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu at a private hospital in Sector 70 here on Thursday. Dr Kaushal is posted at a community health centre in Sangrur district.
The accused doctor has been booked under sections 168 (public servant unlawfully engaging in trade), and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code along with various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The police had sought the doctor's custodial interrogation for investigating various allegations against him and even wanted to check his assets, said SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar.
Sidhu confirmed that Dr Kaushal had not only been suspended but a departmental probe had also been initiated against him. "We will also file a court case wherein he will have to pay back the salary amount for the period of his absenteeism," she said.
Earlier, at a press conference, the complainant in the case, Laxman Singh Chatha, alleged that Dr Kaushal was "politically connected" and he had repeatedly tried to lure him for not pursuing the complaint.
"The sting operation was done on the basis of our complaint as the authorities were lenient towards Dr Kaushal and had turned a blind eye towards his wrongdoings," said Chatha, vice-president of the Punjab Panchayat Union. Chatha alleged that senior health officials of Sangrur district were shielding Dr Kaushal. The panchayats of around 14 villages had lodged complaints against Dr Kaushal but the authorities failed to take action due to the doctor's "political clout".
"Dr Kaushal had been flaunting his proximity to the health minister and thus no action was taken against him," Chatha alleged.
The panchayat union also demanded a thorough probe in the case and urged the government also to take exemplary action against other doctors who were drawing salary from the government but did not report for duty and indulged in private practice.
"Dr Kaushal is not the only one indulging in such practice. The number of doctors doing this in Punjab is far more. Action should be taken against the senior health officials who have failed to check this."