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NRI doctor released on $1 lakh bond

The doctor is facing charges of using insecticides and unauthorised drugs to treat cancer patients in US.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2005 11:35 IST

A doctor of Indian origin facing charges of using insecticides and unauthorised drugs to treat cancer patients has been released on a $1,00,000 bond after he pleaded not guilty in a federal court in Atlanta.

The 70-year-old doctor, Totada R Shanthaveerappa, who was indicted by a federal jury on 87 counts last Thursday, and his assistant Dan Bartoli were released on Tuesday on separate bonds of $1,00,000 by a court in Atlanta of George State.

The duo appeared in the court four days after the license of the doctor, also known as TR Shantha, was suspended by the State Medical Board saying his continued practice of medicine poses a "threat to public health, welfare and safety".

The suspension came after a grand jury had indicted him on several charges including money laundering, insurance fraud and prescribing unapproved drugs.

His 63-year-old assistant Bartoli is charged with helping Shantha to inject numerous patients with a commerical-grade weed killer 'Dinitrophenol' and insecticide 'Chemail Ukrain' and using hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

The prosecutors argued that both Shantha and Bartoli had also submitted false bills to insurance companies by indicating that he was using approved drugs.

Defending his client, lawyer Don Samuel told reporters that his legal team has already collected hundreds of testimonials from patients treated by Shantha, including some of whose case has been given up by traditional medicinal practioners.

Refuting Medical Board contention that Shantha had acknowledged in a letter that he had used two drugs which were not approved for use in the United States, Samuel said that the weed killer the doctor used was regularly used abroad.

"It happens to have the same chemicals you use to treat lawns. But so des water," he said adding, "there's probably something in the cookies you eat that is used in weed killers too."

Shantha, who have had license to practice since 1972, has no previous record of any action against him.

First Published: Dec 28, 2005 08:50 IST