Ukraine war delays probe into fraudulent doctor case in Kerala

In an unexpected twist of events, a police inquiry that resulted in the arrest of a fraudulent doctor in Kothamangalam last month now faces an unexpected hurdle due to the Ukraine-Russia war.  
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

KOCHI: The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has not only strained the global economy but has also indirectly affected an ongoing investigation by the Kothamangalam police. In an unexpected twist of events, a police inquiry that resulted in the arrest of a fraudulent doctor in Kothamangalam last month now faces an unexpected hurdle due to the Ukraine-Russia war.  

This series of intriguing developments began when Murukeshwari (29) from Tirunelveli, who had worked as a doctor at the Life Care Hospital in Kothamangalam from 2021 to 2023, was apprehended by the police based on allegations that she lacked the necessary qualifications to practice medicine.

The case was filed at the Kothamangalam police station following a complaint by the superintendent of the government taluk headquarters hospital. During the course of the investigation, it came to light that Murukeshwari was using the registration credentials of another doctor named Jennifer Mathew Kovoor to treat patients at the hospital. Furthermore, she had also presented counterfeit documents, including a forged Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) certificate and a Travancore Cochin Medical Council (TCMC) certificate, both of which are essential for medical practice in Kerala.

Police discovered these certificates in Murukeshwari’s possession at the hospital and ascertained that she claimed to have graduated in medicine from the Kharkiv National Medical University in 2020. However, given her use of multiple falsified certificates, the police deemed it necessary to verify the authenticity of her medical studies certificate as well. To this end, they approached the Indian Embassy to verify the validity of Murukeshwari’s certificate with the relevant university in Kharkiv.  

“We have been informed that obtaining details about the certificate from the university may be delayed due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. While our local investigation is nearing completion, we are eagerly awaiting information from Ukraine to proceed with filing the charge sheet in court,”Bijoy P T, Kothamangalam Station House Officer said.

Recently, the investigative team also implicated the hospital owner, Abdul Samad, as an accused in the case. Police assert that Samad was aware of Murukeshwari’s lack of qualifications but employed her nonetheless. Additionally, Murukeshwari had submitted all her falsified documents to the hospital administration during her employment, with no verification process carried out. Following her arrest, Murukeshwari confessed, revealing that Samad was aware of the fraudulent activities.     

Nevertheless, on August 1, the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court granted anticipatory bail to Samad. In his petition for anticipatory bail, Samad contended that he was introduced to Murukeshwari by an individual named Sadique. She had presented a purported MBBS degree certificate from Ukraine upon joining his hospital. However, she was recruited based on a submitted Screening Test Pass Certificate.

Murukeshwari’s services were terminated in March 2023 when she demanded excessive remuneration. Subsequently, the newly appointed doctor discovered that the registration number used by Murukeshwari belonged to another physician, leading to a report to the District Medical Officer and Superintendent of the Taluk Headquarters Hospital. Murukeshwari has also been recently released on bail.     

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