Health dept delays action against centre conducting sex determination tests

  • Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Oct 05, 2014 23:35 IST

Ten days after sealing and registering a case under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act, the district health department has not taken further action against an ultrasound centre which was allegedly involved in conducting sex determination tests.

Failing to sense the gravity of the issue, health officials have not started the process of filing a chargesheet against the owner of Malhotra Ultrasound Centre, Dr Hitesh Malhotra, in the local court. Moreover, the health department has not even initiated any procedure for cancelling the license of the above-mentioned ultrasound centre.

The ultrasound centre was exposed by chief parliamentary secretary Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, following a sting operation conducted on September 25. Back then, the health department had claimed that it was one of the biggest ultrasound centres in Malwa, which provided illegal services to more than 100 villages of various districts in the region.

However, this is not the first time that the Malhotra Ultrasound Centre has been found to have irregularities in its functioning. Action was initiated against the centre in August and its ultrasound machines were sealed for non-maintenance of records.

The accused doctor allegedly charged a fee ranging between `8,000 and `15000 and had deployed touts across villages and cities to bring customers to him He determined the gender of unborn babies of 10 to 15 women per day.

Even so, the centre opened within five days due to reasons best known to the health department. Chief medical officer Dr HS Bali said they were investigating the matter and were not going to file a chargesheet in haste.

"Moreover, the chargesheet will be filed directly into the court, therefore, we don't want to leave loopholes while documenting the chargesheet," said Bali.

Bali added the officials were still collecting more evidence to make their case stronger this time. "This time, we have framed serious charges against the alleged doctor. Therefore, a strong case will be put against him because he has managed to escape earlier due to lack of evidence," he said.

He further added, "Moreover, public holidays in the past week delayed us in compiling the chargesheet."

Pertinently, CPS Navjot Kaur Sidhu carried out a sting operation after she had received numerous complaints about the centre conducting sex determination tests and disclosing the gender of unborn babies to people. Sidhu could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

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