Politics

Prashant Bhushan Alleges Large-Scale Corruption in Dental Council

Prashant Bhushan in a file photo. PTI

Prashant Bhushan in a file photo. PTI

New Delhi: Noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan today alleged large-scale corruption in functioning of the dental regulator Dental Council of India (DCI) and demanded that it be handed over to Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha committee overseeing work of Medical Council of India.

In a press conference, Bhushan accused top brass of the DCI of seeking bribes to give permission for setting up new colleges and expanding existing ones, besides involvement in “gross” financial irregularities.

He alleged that several of members of the DCI, including president Dibyendu Mazumder were holding their posts “illegally”.

The DCI, however, rubbished all allegations saying it was following all laid down procedures and rules.

“Dr Mazumder is a regular professor working full-time in government of West Bengal Health Services. He misused first term of his presidentship to get his membership from one university in Jharkhand without following rules and regulations of the Dentists Act,” Bhushan alleged.

“Besides, DCI has only issued a congratulatory letter and till date his membership has not been duly notified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” he said.

The allegations, made by him, range from financial irregularity to creation of bogus colleges and faculty, improper conduct of elections and harassment of those who raised voices against corruption.

Bhushan also claimed that seats had been increased without commensurate improvement in infrastructure, and a few persons had also been caught by the CBI taking bribe.

DCI member Dr Shaji K Joseph, who was present alongside Bhushan also alleged that the DCI’s secretary was “illegally appointed”.

Bhushan demanded that a committee of inquiry be appointed and action be taken in this regard, adding CBI cases in this connection should also be expedited. And, the DCI should be superseded and handed over to the Lodha panel.

Mazumder, reacting to the allegation said, “His appointment was legal. And, it need not be notified as only members falling in certain categories (3A and 3F) need notification, as made in the Delhi High Court verdict in a case in 1995. My appointment does not belong to that category, so the allegation is baseless.”

“The allegations of corruption and financial irregularities also do not have any base,” he said.

The Supreme Court, early this year had appointed a three- member Oversight Committee headed by ex-CJI R M Lodha to oversee functioning of the Medical Council of India, which regulates medical practice in the country, for at least a year.

DCI monitors over 300 dental colleges across the country and most of these colleges also offer post-graduation courses, besides bachelor programmes.