Munna Bhai AIIMS: How man who impersonated doctor was finally caught
19-year-old Adnan Khurram, a medical aspirant, impersonated as an AIIMS doctor for five months.
For nearly five months, 19-year-old Adnan Khurram pretended to be a doctor from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and was seen enthusiastically participating in social events and protests, including the one organised by the resident doctors’ association against the National Medical Commission (NMC) bill.
“I met him for the first time in December when we were planning protests against the NMC bill. He was very active in all our meetings. We welcomed it because most doctors and MBBS students here are usually too tired after study and shifts to participate in volunteer activity,” said Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, president of the resident doctors’ association (RDA) at AIIMS.
Khurram actively participated in all meetings, protests and even a marathon organised by the RDA recently. He also allegedly used his fake RDA credentials to meet VIPs.
“He forced his way to meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who came to AIIMS for treatment recently,” said Dr Bhatti.
It was his social participation in so many activities that raised suspicion among other doctors. “We were surprised that he could make it to all the events at AIIMS and even those organised by other medical organisations. He claimed to be a junior resident, who usually end up with 18-20 hour shifts. He used to hang out near the coffee shop or the doctors’ hostel every evening. We started wondering how he had so much time,” said Dr Bhatti.
There are around 2,000 resident doctors at AIIMS at any given time and new batches start twice a year in January and in July, making it difficult for doctors to keep track of each other. “So we decided to be thorough because no one was sure what course he was pursuing or which department he was in, he said different things to different people,” said Dr Bhatti.
The RDA decided to look at the records in the academic section, which maintains records of all students of medicine, including those doing MBBS, MD or DM. When his name wasn’t found in the academic records, the RDA checked with the finance department to see if he was getting a stipend as a resident doctor. Again, they found nothing.
When Khurram did not turn up at the administrative building after being repeatedly summoned, the security officer at AIIMS was asked to keep an eye out for him. Security officers caught him when he came for the marathon on Sunday and reported him to the police.
Khurram, however, did not attend classes or treat any patient. “He, of course, could not attend lectures because his name was not on the rolls and fellow students would have recognised him. He couldn’t even attend the out-patient department because doctors are usually allotted the examination rooms beforehand,” said Dr Bhatti.
Doctors said that such cases of impersonation were a serious security breach. “Apart from Adnam, we have caught three people over the past year pretending to be AIIMS doctors, usually to gain favour with other staff members for the treatment of family members or people who paid them. It is essential that AIIMS, being a premiere institute where several VIP patients come, should have a system like radio-frequency IDs that can identify all doctors and staff members,” said Dr Vijay Gurjar, a resident and former president of RDA.