Mumbai: The swindle by 58 medical practitioners who furnished fake postgraduate degrees from the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) to obtain license to practice as specialists, has proven to be a major howler since the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) has now pressed for criminal charges against them. Earlier, the medical council suspended them on the same charges.
“Forgery is a criminal offence, so we had to file a police complaint. It assumes more seriousness when medical professionals indulge in such cheating as it puts human lives at stake,” confirmed Dr Shivkumar Utture, state medical council’s President. He added that an application has been submitted at Agripada police station.
An FIR has not been registered yet, an official from the Agripada police station confirmed adding that the charges would be finalized only after an FIR, reports TOI.
Over a month ago, Medical Dialogues reported that more than 50 medical practitioners working in the state as specialists were suspended after the state medical council found them guilty of forgery. All these practitioners were practicing after “completing” their PG courses including PG diploma and fellowships from CPS.
The state medical council stumbled upon the scam over a year ago, while scrutinizing documents of a candidate who had submitted a fake certificate for registration. This prompted the council to launch a statewide probe spanning over the last six months.
The MMC investigations revealed that around 77 doctors had failed the CPS examinations but managed to procure passing certificates and had been practicing based on those specialists degrees since. Majority of the fake degrees were pertaining to the sought-after CPS courses, including diploma in gynaecology and obstetrics, diploma in ophthalmic medicine, diploma in general surgery, diploma in cardiology, and fellowships in surgery and medicine.
The state medical council began taking action and 20 of these doctors were suspended in the month of April, 2018.
“Our probe revealed 77 doctors had submitted fake CPS certificates, of whom 20 were suspended a few months ago. The seven doctors handed five-year bans did not bother to attend the final hearing and we have taken stringent action against them as per the medical council guidelines. The rest have given written assurances and were handed one-year bans,” MMC president, Dr Shivkumar Uttare said while confirming the punishments handed out to the doctors.
The whole case of fake certificates was found linked to a larger scam and is alleged to have been involving more medical practitioners, who were assisting these doctors get their “Pass certificates.” Doctors allegedly paid between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 6 lakh for the certificates after failing the CPS examination.
A paediatrician, Snehal Nyati, was identified as the one allegedly helping doctors procure fake certificates, after which the MMC permanently revoked Nyati’s registration to practice. The Bhoiwada police filed a charge sheet against Nyati, who is out on bail.
Now, citing lack of resources to conduct the expansive probe on this massive scam, the state medical council has written to the state medical education department to take over the investigation.
“With our limited resources, we have managed to go through our records for 2016 and half of 2015. But we are afraid the scam began much before that as we are still getting cases,” Dr Utture said. He added that the body has sought the state’s support in the investigation, fearing a bigger racket spread across Maharashtra.