The News Minute| July 2, 2014| 1.00 pm IST
A letter written by the Head of the AIIMS Forensic Department Dr. Sudhir Gupta to the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has triggered a fresh controversy on the death of Sunanda Pushkar. Dr Gupta has said that there is a malafide agenda to oust him from his position for taking a "professional position which went against vested interests' in the probe into Sunanda Pushkar and Nido Tania death.
Governancenow.com, a web portal that first reported Dr. Guptaâ€™s letter to CAT, says, â€śDr Gupta has referred to this disclosure to bolster the case for his continuation as head of the forensic department in the prestigious AIIMS. Of late he has been slapped with charges of plagiarism and misconduct which he has been contesting in the CAT.â€ť The story also notes that Dr Guptaâ€™s affidavit seems to be a clever ploy to re-ignite the controversy over the high-profile case and quotes unnamed sources in AIIMS hinting that Dr Guptaâ€™s disclosures are more meant as strategic tool to settle his score.
In his letter to CAG, Dr Gupta says, "This is nothing but a malaise agenda to oust me from the post of HOD since I have taken an honest and ethical stand in cases of postmortem as such in case of Sunanda Pushkar and Nido Tania case. It is requested to your good offices to inquire into this illegal POLITICALLY MOTIVATED malaise agenda."
Dr. Gupta in his report to CVC and CAT has attached some emails. One of the emails was sent from Shashi Tharoorâ€™s id (TNM cannot confirm the same) to Dr MC Mishra, Director of AIIMS. In this mail, Tharoor draws the attention of Dr.Mishra to a medical opinion given by another doctor. From the content of this email, it is evident that the other doctor was someone who had examined Sunanda Tharoor in December 2013.
The doctor in the mail says â€śIf she had no food for three days and had only coconut water which has a very high content of potassium, this could have elevated her serum potassium levels and possibly slowed her heart rate. In addition, if she took Alprax, it could have contributed to the slowing down of her heart rate and made it possibly difficult for her to call for help." It is this 'medical opinion' that Tharoor forwarded to Dr Mishra, who must have at some later stage shared it with Dr Sudhir Gupta.
There is a second e mail that Dr.Gupta has attached to his complaint. This was an email sent on Feb 12, 2014 by yet another doctor to AIIMS doctors. This doctor introduced himself as a â€śchild specialist originally qualified from India, trained in UK and have been working Dubai for the last 15 yearsâ€ť. The doctor says that Sunanda Pushkar was a family friend and adds that he was privy to some medical issues in her life, and says â€śI wish to document these as this information like help in determining the cause of her deathâ€ť. The doctor says Sunanda had lupus and had â€śplummeting blood pressureâ€ť during her visits to Dubai.
Interestingly he adds that she used to bruise easily and we have discussed this several times, a mere injection for blood test or bump in into a piece of furniture could result in visible bruising. I am concerned as bruising on her body is being discussed as inflicted in the mediaâ€ť. He signs off saying that he is writing this completely on his own initiative.
Dr Sudhir Gupta's contention is that these e mails were part of a concerted effort to influence investigation.
Shashi Tharoor, when approached by Headlines Today, the channel which first published the letter, refused to comment. Governancenow.com notes in its story, "Dr Guptaâ€™s affidavit seems to be a clever ploy to re-ignite the controversy over the high-profile case and quotes unnamed sources in AIIMS hinting that Dr Guptaâ€™s disclosures are more meant as strategic tool to settle his score."
Whether the doctor was trying to simply stall his transfer by raking up a high profile case or his contentions are genuine... the truth about Sunanda Pushkar's death needs to come out.