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Calcutta High Court orders 17 doctors to face trial for “criminal conspiracy”

Kolkata: Calcutta High Court on Monday directed 17 Kolkata doctors and ex-members of West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) to stand trial for alleged “criminal conspiracy” and “screening offender”.

Anuradha Saha

The case stems from the “wrongful death” of Anuradha Saha, wife of US-based Dr Kunal Saha, who died in 1998 during a social visit to India due to “gross medical negligence” by three Kolkata doctors — Dr Sukumar Mukherjee, Dr Baidyanath Halder and Dr Balaram Prasad.

According to Dr Kunal Saha, the 17 WBMC members acquitted all the three doctors, responsible for Anuradha’s death, in 2002 by “suppressing truth and expert medical opinions”.

The Supreme Court, in a judgment delivered in 2009, found the three Kolkata doctors responsible for Anuradha’s death. Subsequently, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) imposed a compensation of Rs 1.7 crore against the three doctors in 2011 for causing wrongful death of Anuradha.

After a criminal case was filed by Dr Saha in 2011 with “incriminating evidences obtained from WBMC”, Bankshall Court in Kolkata found (Bankshall Court Order – August 19, 2011) sufficient ground to hold all the 17 doctor-members prima facie guilty for “criminal conspiracy” (IPC Section 120b) and “screening offenders” (IPC Section 201) for acquitting the three Kolkata doctors.

The 17 doctors moved Calcutta High Court to quash the criminal case upheld by the Bankshall Court.

After almost two years of hearings, Calcutta High Court on Monday refused to quash the criminal case and directed all the 17 doctors to stand trial for the alleged criminal offences that they have been charged with, each of which carries a sentence of two years or longer of rigorous imprisonment.

The 17 accused doctors are Dr Asok Choudhury, Dr Subir Kumar Datta, Dr Shyamalendu Choudhury, Dr C R Maiti, Dr Subir Ganguly, Dr Soumen Banerjee, Dr Samir Roy, Dr Aparna Lahiri, Dr Sikha Das, Dr Tamal Kanti Ghosh, Dr Surajit Ghosh, Dr Sudhangsu Kumar Sarkar, Dr Manoj Bhattacharyya, Dr Tamal Kumar Biswas, Dr Maloy Kumar Maitra, Dr Alok Chattopadhyay and Dr B P Dutta.

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