Fleecing of cancer patients in Faridkot : 4 years on, cops fail to file challan in case
Accused Faridkot chemist was bailed out in 2 months; SIT had suggested legal action against 5 doctors, but they were not interrogatedpunjab Updated: May 29, 2017 08:53 IST
Nothing has moved since the registration of a criminal case in 2013 against a local chemist who allegedly fleeced cancer patients of Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital.
Police are yet to submit challan in the sensational case which had exposed the alleged malpractices in medical system, forcing the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to intervene.
After a great hue and cry by cancer patients alleging chemists of duping them by charging more for the medicines, a first information report (FIR) was registered at Faridkot (city) police station against the owner of five chemist shops in the medical college, on September 20, 2013.
Accused Puneet Tayal was booked following a complaint of Jaspal Singh of Ahal village who claimed to have bought medicines from the accused for his daughter Harpreet Kaur, a blood cancer patient, at a much higher price.
Sources claimed that police are likely to appeal for cancellation of the FIR in a local court.
- Sept 20, 2013 FIR registered
- Sept 26, 2013 SIT formed
- Oct 7, 2013 Accused chemist Puneet Tayal arrested
- Dec 4, 2013 Accused given bail by Punjab and Haryana high court
- Dec 11, 2013 SIT submits report, recommends action against five doctors
The fact that many doctors in the hospital were also suspected to be hand in glove with the chemists as they allegedly forced patients to buy medicines from selected medical stores, made the case even more serious.
The complainant had claimed that the accused even made fake bills of those medicines which he did not buy for his daughter. He claimed that when he objected, the accused threatened him. Reference of some such bills was made in the FIR.
Jaspal blamed that funds under the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, which were actually meant for cancer patients, were siphoned off by chemists and doctors.
After the legal opinion of then deputy district attorney, Rajnish Kumar, a case was registered under Sections 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under relevant sections of Drug Price Control Order.
After the initial sluggish investigation as pointed out by CM Badal, a special investigation team (SIT) was formed in the case on September 26, 2013.
The SIT, in its report submitted on December 11, 2013, concluded that five doctors were part of the nexus and suggested legal action against them too.
Despite SIT naming these doctors in the report, they were not interrogated, said sources.
“In 2014, the accused had met the then IGP, Bathinda zone, claiming that he was innocent, following which the IGP marked a probe to the then SSP Fazilka. DSP Jalalabad was further asked to submit a report and he suggested cancellation of FIR, claiming it to be a fake case. The IGP had approved the cancellation, but police are yet to approach the court in this regard. It was a big scam and many doctors are likely to be exposed if the case is sincerely investigated,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.
Another officer claimed that doctors dodged the police investigation in connivance with the senior police officials.
Talking to Hindustan Times, complainant Jaspal Singh (48), a farmer, said, “The shoddy investigation of the police has so far saved the doctors and other medical staff involved in the scam. Many influential persons, including cops, tried to bribe me and pressured me to withdraw my complaint. I don’t want money. I want to see culprits behind the bars.”
“I was shocked to see the nexus between doctors and chemists. Accused Puneet claimed that he is close to all doctors and I cannot harm him. Even during interrogation, Puneet had admitted that he had prepared fake bills for cancer patients and earned around Rs 35 lakh, which were kept at his house in Mansa,” Jaspal further claimed.
POLICE PROBING CASE, SAYS FARIDKOT SSP
On the delay in submitting challan in the court, Faridkot senior superintendent of police (SSP) Nanak Singh, said, “We were investigating the case and thus it took us time to prepare the challan. We will submit the challan in the court within a week.”
The senior superintendent of police, however, could not confirm the number of doctors interrogated during the course of investigation.