Dr AK Gupta, medical superintendent of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), has written to the institute director, seeking withdrawal of chargesheet against him for not obeying orders of the health ministry.
He has alleged that the Union health minister had never issued the orders for action against him, but these were “modified” at the under-secretary level.
In April this year, Dr AK Gupta was chargesheeted by the director for ‘disobeying’ the then Union health minister’s order by continuing his three-month assignment with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nepal in 2014, for which had not taken permission from the ministry.
The MS had also applied for the post of PGI director, but he was not given the vigilance clearance, making him ineligible for the post.
The health ministry’s letter, dated October 10, 2015, reads, “We may, therefore, seek his [Dr Gupta] explanation as to why he should not be proceeded against departmentally.”
However, the second letter forwarded by the under-secretary to the PGI director on November 16, 2015, reads, “The matter has been examined by the ministry and it has been decided that regular departmental proceedings may be initiated against Dr AK Gupta.”
“The director is requested to take further necessary action,” it adds.
Highlighting the difference between the two orders, Dr Gupta has asked the director to withdraw the chargesheet.
“The chargesheet has not been approved by the competent authority which is the governing body of PGI. The president of the PGI (health minister) had only approved seeking my (Dr Gupta’s) explanation as to why I should not be proceeded against, departmentally,” Gupta argues in the letter.
“But instead of seeking my explanation, the under-secretary modified the president’s order, directing PGI to start departmental proceedings,” he adds.
When contacted, Gupta said, “I have already submitted the facts to the director and nothing else to say.”
The PGI director was not available for comments.
In 2014, Dr Gupta had taken an extraordinary leave of three months from September 15 to December 15 without the consent of the governing body. At a meeting of the body in October 2014, the then Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had reportedly expressed surprise as to how Dr Gupta had gone to Nepal on a WHO assignment as a hospital management specialist, without taking consent from the ministry.
Vardhan had cancelled Dr Gupta’s leave and the message was conveyed to the doctor on September 29, 2014. However, instead of following orders and coming back, he chose to stay back and filed an appeal with the ministry seeking permission, but he got no reply.