The ongoing tussle between medical education and research minister Anil Joshi and Punjab Medical Council (PMC) president Dr GS Grewal acquired a political hue on Wednesday with Grewal’s elder brother Maheshinder Singh Grewal - an adviser to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and also secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) - claiming that the minister had ‘overstepped his jurisdiction’ in ordering an inquiry into complaints received against his younger brother.
Maheshinder, who holds the rank of a cabinet minister, has also accused Joshi of causing ‘embarrassment’ to the SAD-BJP coalition government.
“Joshi is exceeding his brief. The PMC is an autonomous body and the state government’s role ended with the appointment of its president. In case, the government does not agree with the PMC, there is a set procedure to be followed,” Maheshinder told HT.
The minister, however, claimed that the inquiry was ordered after receiving numerous complaints against the PMC president of seeking bribes in giving and renewing licences to doctors and nursing homes. Joshi has also alleged that Dr Grewal was running a parallel government.
“What if he (Dr Grewal) is the brother of a senior Akali leader, I am doing everything on merit,” Joshi told HT over phone.
Dr Grewal claimed, “I raised the issue of ghost faculty in medical colleges and the issue of kickbacks to doctors from pharmaceutical companies. This annoyed the minister and thus I am being targeted.”
“Joshi is embarrassing the government by raising such issues and has made it a habit to create situations that embarrass the coalition partner. In the past, he had taken on the SAD to favour his brother in Tarn Taran municipal council elections,” claimed Maheshinder.
“Joshi wants to help doctors who are flouting regulations. A prominent doctor is practising without a licence in Ludhiana. Joshi is supporting the doctor,” Maheshinder alleged.
The three-member inquiry committee will be headed by Dr Ashok Gupta, from the ENT department at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. A professor in nuclear medicine department at the PGI Dr Baljinder Singh and an Amritsar-based private practicioner Dr Ujjagar Singh Dhaliwal are the other two members.