Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The doctor who made education a business

The Central Bureau of Investigation has made several inroads into the illegitimate sources of income of Ketan Desai, chairman of the Medical Council of India.

The CBI arrested Desai last week for allegedly demanding Rs 8 crore for granting recognition to Gian Sagar College, a medical college in Punjab.

After initial interrogation, the CBI recovered Rs 2 crore from Desai that CBI sources say was just an installment of the total money that he received from the college.

CBI sources have called Desai a "big catch", as he might know the details of others involved in the scandal.

As investigation progresses, CBI officials are bound to find more about Desai's dealings.

The CBI is also probing into Desai's associates who may have supported him in the scam.

The investigation is at a very early stage and we are still questioning the accused, the CBI said.

On the basis of the several hours of interrogation of Desai, the CBI has found that the disgraced MCI chairman owns 10 houses in Gujarat alone. He also owns several properties that have been booked under names of other members of the family.

Till now, the CBI has managed to recover 1.5 kg of gold and 80 kg of silver after raiding Desai's properties.

Desai's wife is also under scanner, said the CBI, adding that she played a vital role in investing the money Desai demanded as bribes from the real estate in Gujarat.

The CBI has also taken into custody a Delhi-based middleman, the vice chairman of the medical college in question and an official of the college.

Desai's arrest will help CBI officials in investigating the involvement of other middlemen involved in similar scams, as they believe that Gian Sagar College cannot be the lone college to have approached Desai for illegal permit.

"We are trying to find more information on the other deals that he (Desai) may have struck and we are quite sure that there could be a lot many," sources from the investigation agency said.

The case so far:

According to the CBI, an inspection committee had had found several irregularities in the Gian Sagar College and had due, to lack of adequate infrastructure, refused permission to admit students.

A member from the college approached a middleman in Delhi who in turn contacted had allegedly Desai. The MCI chairman proposed a deal that if the college would pay him a bribe of Rs 8 crore, he would do away with the mandatory requisites needed for the college to qualify for admitting students.

It was agreed that Desai would he would help get the nod so that the college could start taking in students for the academic year 2010-2011.

In exchange for the bribe, Desai also ensured that the college could commence without any need to comply with the objections raised by the inspection committee.

What the CBI recovered from Desai:

A plot in Ahmedabad city; an investment of 20 lakh in Hindustan Home Finance Ltd; a property in Sun Building Pvt. Ltd, Ahmedabad; a plot in Land holding Sun Village Project, Sanand; gold worth Rs 39 lakh; bank accounts in the Ahmedabad branch of Bank of Baroda under the names of Desai and his family worth Rs 1.8 crore.

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