LUCKNOW: Even before Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted for rape on August 25, the Union government was probing into the dispatch of 14 cadavers from the Dera’s headquarters to a private medical college in Lucknow in violation of norms.
The 14 cadavers were delivered over a period of eight months between January and August this year and were meant for medical research at the GCRG Institute of Medical Sciences situated on the outskirts of Lucknow. The college says it has affidavits from the families of the 14 dead persons pledging the donation of their bodies for medical research.
The issue came to light following the leak of a letter from the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry written on August 19 to the UP government, raising doubts over the manner in which the bodies were taken to Lucknow and received by the medical college without the requisite permissions or any death certificates. The letter also allegedly claimed that the medical institute did not comply with the standard procedure for procuring human bodies for medical studies.
According to one source in the GCRG Medical College, a team of the Medical Council of India (MCI) inspected the college on August 16 and found 14 cadavers in the anatomy department.
During the MCI's previous inspection on January 6, there had been only one cadaver in the institute and the council gave an adverse report on the institute as the rules mandated at least 15, said the source.
The Union health ministry’s letter says the college violated the protocol for obtaining cadavers. On the eighth page of the nine-page letter dated August 19, 2017, the ministry said the college was not even aware of the provisions of the biomedical waste rules. The ministry directed the the Uttar Pradesh state authorities to look into the matter.
The college management says that Dera followers’ kin do donate bodies to a number of medical; colleges. "We have the affidavits of all the 14 families who agreed to donate the bodies for research. We have invited the Lucknow police to verify these documents," said Onkar Yadav, a GCRG management member.
The Lucknow police said they are investigating the matter. SSP Deepak Kumar said legal action would be initiated against the college and Dera Sacha Sauda if they are found to have flouted the norms for cadaver donation. Uttar Pradesh health minister Siddharth Nath Singh said the state government is monitoring the probe being conducted by the state police.