In a relief for the Dr K Sudhakar Rao, the Andhra doctor who was suspended allegedly for speaking out on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit shortage at government hospitals in the state, the High Court has ordered his release from the mental health care institution and permitted him to seek treatment at a hospital of his choice. The Andhra Pradesh High court order was passed following a habeas corpus filed by the doctorâ€™s mother, Kolaventi Kaveri Lakshmi Bai on Friday.
Dr Sudhakar, a civil assistant surgeon (anaesthesia) at Area Hospital in Narsipatnam, was suspended on April 8 allegedly after he raised the issue of masks and PPE kits.
The doctor was admitted to a government health care facility on May 16 after the police allegedly manhandled him for creating nuisance on a city road.
Sudhakarâ€™s lawyer Sravan Kumar told Deccan Chronicle that the doctor was under illegal custody as he was not arrested by the state police or by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Despite no arrest being made, the doctor was not allowed to leave the hospital.
Dealing with a habeas corpus petition filed by Kaveri Bai, the High Court allowed Sudhakar to leave the hospital after informing the hospital superintendent.
The court granted the permission after Visakhapatnam Police informed the court that it had not arrested him. The CBI, which is currently probing the case of manhandling of the doctor by the police, also informed the court that it did not arrest him.
The court directed Sudhakar to cooperate with the CBI in the investigation.
Kaveri Bai said the High Court has done justice by permitting Sudhakar to leave the hospital. "I have been saying from day one that my son has no mental problem, but the government was bent upon projecting him as someone who has lost mental balance," she said.
She said all the injustices meted out to her son were getting exposed one by one. She hoped that the CBI would also do justice to him.
Meanwhile, the CBI continued its investigations into the case on the direction of the High Court. The investigating officials reached Narsipatnam and visited the Area Hospital where Sudhakar was serving as an anaesthetist. They checked the doctor's service records and gathered information from the hospital superintendent.
The CBI officials later questioned local Municipal Commissioner Krishnaveni about the meeting held in her office in early April. It was during this meeting that Sudhakar had raised the issue of shortage of masks and PPE kits for doctors treating Covid-19 patients. A video of his remarks during the meeting had become public, following which he was suspended.
The suspended doctor was allegedly manhandled by the police when he created nuisance on a road in Visakhapatnam on May 16. His hands were tied behind and he was dragged and bundled into an auto-rickshaw by the policemen. He was taken to the King George Hospital, where doctors found him in an inebriated condition. They also referred him to the Government Hospital for Mental Health.
The High Court on May 22 ordered a CBI probe into the incident after some petitioners, who approached the court, alleged that the doctor was suspended, manhandled and humiliated for raising the issue of shortage of masks and PPE kits for doctors.
The High Court had directed that a case be booked against the policemen involved and asked the CBI to submit its report to the court in eight weeks.