Saturday was an unusually busy day at the Maharashtra Medical Council office in Mumbai. For a probe into suspected fake certificates of PG diploma and fellowships offered by the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS), the MMC had summoned 53 doctors for questioning and cross-verification of marksheets. Along with the doctors, MMC was also to question the role of the CPS in the issuing of fake PG diplomas in disciplines ranging from surgery, gynaecology, venereology to dermatology, orthopaedics and medical radiology.
In response to the summons, 20 doctors didn’t turn up for verification, while 26 of them accepted that they paid between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 6 lakh for the certificates because they had failed the examination. Only seven doctors claimed to have genuine PG certificates from CPS. The MMC team began questioning the doctors and recording their statements at 2 pm, continuing until 8 pm. The place was teeming with doctors from all over Maharashtra and some from other states.
The scam, first reported by Mumbai Mirror, came to light in 2016 when the Council had asked CPS for relevant documents. In the first round of investigation, 19 doctors were suspended for a year and one for five years. Suspecting many more cases of fake certificates, the CPS data was closely scrutinised for several months and 52 other certificates were found to be fraudulent. With a paediatrician Snehal Nyati identified as the one helping procure the certificates, MMC suspected others at CPS. The Council permanently revoked Nyati’s registration to practice. Based on complaints of these 20 doctors in 2016, Bhoiwada police have filed a chargesheet against Nyati; he is out on bail.
Talking about the cross-verification exercise on Saturday, MMC president Dr Shivkumar Utture told Mumbai Mirror, “We have decided to give one more chance to those 20 doctors who were absent for the verification. We will send them one more notice before taking the final call in their cases.”
With reference to 26 specialists who claimed to have paid a bribe to get fake certificates, he said, “The modus operandi has been found to be similar to the earlier cases. All the 26 doctors have claimed that they received several calls from middleman Snehal Nyati. Some of them got the calls before the examination, others during the examination or post the examination. Each doctor paid between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 6 lakh to get fake certificates. They have confessed to forgery and we will soon take a call on the future course of legal action against these doctors.”
As for the seven doctors who claimed that their certificates are genuine, prima facie MMC believes them. However, sources said that the CPS provided the Council with three different lists that are somewhat contradictory. MMC may call upon CPS representatives during the course of this ongoing investigation.
So far the Council has looked into fake certificates from the last two years. Going by the number of forged documents, MMC has decided to cross-check CPS certificates of all the previous years. However, one question that remains unanswered is, ‘How did Snehal Nyati get free access to CPS systems?’