The governing body of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, on Tuesday withheld the selection of institute director Dr YK Chawla’s daughter and son-inlaw citing conflict of interest.
The meeting was chaired by Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda in New Delhi.
The director’s daughter Dr Parul Chawla and son-in-law Dr Ankur Gupta are working as assistant professors on ad hoc basis in the PGIMER’s department of ophthalmology and cardiology, respectively.
In the interviews held in August and September this year, they appeared before the standing selection committee for regular posts. The chairman of the committee was Dr BK Sharma, former director of the institute. Dr Chawla himself was the member-secretary of the committee, but he had recused himself from the interview process of both the cardiology and ophthalmology departments, for which his daughter and son-inlaw had appeared.
Sources revealed that the selection was debated at the governing body meeting. The members said the director should have recused himself completely from the entire interview and selection process and the PGIMER administration or the director failed to come up with a convincing reply.
Finally, the governing body collectively decided that their selection should be withheld.
“If the director had recused himself from the interviews in which his daughter and son-inlaw were appearing, then it’s unfair to withhold the result. If a capable candidate is related to some top official of the institute, it doesn’t mean his entry is banned in the PGIMER,” said Dr BNS Walia, former director, PGIMER.
An eminent doctor who retired from the institute and was also on the selection committee, said: “I remember that the boy was outstanding and no other candidate was even close to him.”
When contacted, chairman of the committee Dr BK Sharma confirmed that the governing council had withheld the selection but refused to divulge details.
Dr Chawla didn’t take the call despite repeated attempts. Institute’s spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said they can’t comment on the issue till the minutes of the governing body were signed.
The governing body is one of the top decision-making bodies of the institute, and is also the appointing authority when it comes to selection of the faculty members at the institute.