L-G suspends AAP minister Saurabh Bharadwaj’s OSD following hospital tragedy

Saxena cited a civil complaint against the aforementioned nursing home, alleging it has been operating despite the cancellation of its registration in 2018.
Lieutenant Governor (L-G) VK Saxena; Delhi health minister Saurabh Bharadwaj
Lieutenant Governor (L-G) VK Saxena; Delhi health minister Saurabh BharadwajFile photo | Express

NEW DELHI : In a fresh episode in the tussle between L-G V K Saxena and the city government, the former on Wednesday suspended Delhi health minister Saurabh Bhardwaj’s officer on special duty (OSD) over alleged “misconduct with regard to unauthorised and illegal” operations of Jyoti Clinic and Nursing Home situated in east Delhi.

The action came in the wake of the tragic fire incident that claimed six infants, notably, a day after the BJP alleged Das’s role in the registration process of the fateful neonatal care facility in Vivek Vihar.

In the order, the Vigilance Directorate said, “The L-G, hereby, places Dr RN Das, Officer on Special Duty to Minister (Health), under suspension with immediate effect.”

Saxena cited a civil complaint against the aforementioned nursing home, alleging it has been operating despite the cancellation of its registration in 2018.

According to the directorate, Das, when engaged as the Medical Superintendent of the Delhi government’s Nursing Home Cell, kept the facility running by delaying the renewal of its licence post-2014, which eventually led to the cancellation of its registration in 2018.

“It has been alleged that Dr RN Das had worked hand in glove with the management of the nursing home and provided unlawful shelter by keeping the licence pending unnecessarily. Subsequently, the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi government enquired into the complaint and held, prima facie, that it is a case of corruption."

Dr Das was posted to the Nursing Home Cell from 2011 to 2015 and from 2018 to 2022. “Given his long tenure... the officer is clearly responsible for the alleged misconduct,” the file submitted to the L-G read.

The L-G seemed to link the hospital fire and the alleged licencing failure, declaring, “here also, Dr Das had allowed registration of the children’s hospital without bothering to ascertain pending litigation and statutory compliance status, including fire safety.”

Last month, Das was issued a show cause notice in connection with the alleged irregularities in procurement of various items during the pandemic.

‘L-G emptying my office’

Responding to development, health minister Bharadwaj said the L-G was targeting advisors, consultants and others appointed by the government to make the “offices empty” and cripple the functioning of departments.

“Today my office is empty because all the advisors, fellows, and consultants who were appointed were removed by the L-G,” the minister said.

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