External political interference has been alleged in the ongoing developments at the medical research institute.

Dr Asha Kishore, Director, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences Kerala.Dr Asha Kishore
news Controversy Wednesday, August 05, 2020 - 19:37

The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) faces an unprecedented crisis even as the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) stayed the extension granted to Director Dr Asha Kishore. The medical research institute has been in the news recently over the extension granted to the Director of the Institute. Dr Asha Kishore had alleged external interference in the administration over the past year when the extension was questioned.

The CAT’s order is based on a petition moved by a faculty member of the Institute seeking to revoke the extension granted to the Director.

The CAT stayed the extension order of the Institute Director on Wednesday. The extension granted to Dr Asha Kishore has been opposed by a group of people, allegedly prompted by political interests and external political interference. 

Medical Superintendent Dr Sanjeev Thomas has been given the temporary charge as Director.

Dr Sajith Sukumaran, a faculty member of the Institute, had moved the adjudication body for service matters on July 9. Following the development, it is learnt that Dr Asha Kishore has gone on leave for two months.

“It’s strange that the Department of Science and Technology that had initially approved the Institute Body’s decision to grant extension for the Direction impleaded in the case. The DST being impleaded in the case itself is strange. If the DST didn’t want her to continue in the post, they could have intervened prior to the Institute Body’s decision. The Institute Body is being held with the approval of the DST,” a source close to the development said.

The source alleged that the Act of Parliament which set up SCTIMS as an Institute of National Importance had been diluted. 

“The Institute was envisaged more as a research institute and to develop technology rather than as a hospital. The Act was enacted for the institute to achieve its goals undeterred by any vested interests. Also, the appointment of a Director is till their superannuation. But when Dr Asha was appointed as the Director, it was for five years only. When pointed out, she was told that it’s a clerical mistake and that it was something trivial. Now, it should be questioned whether that clerical mistake was intentional,” the source added.

Dr Asha Kishore, in a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in June alleged that she was targeted and being subjected to mudslinging by a few external persons.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of the Institute, Dr Girija Vallabhan, had resigned on July 27. The resignation is also allegedly because he was reluctant to continue in an atmosphere with external political pressure.

He too had been granted an extension of three years. According to sources, he carried out a slew of reforms at the administration level. 

“He was also cornered in many ways and had been even targeted personally. This in due course affected his family too, which might have finally prompted him to quit,” the source said.

Also Read: ‘I am being targeted’: Sree Chitra Institute director Dr Asha on row over her tenure

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