Nurses’ harassment case: PMC corporator says former dean interfering with enquiry

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The enquiry into complaints of harassment by Pune-based Sassoon General Hospital (SGH) nurses at the hands of chief matron, Rajshree Korke, has run into a controversy with leader of the opposition in the Pune Municipal Corporation, Arvind Shinde, alleging that former hospital dean, Dr. Ajay Chandanwale, is influencing it.

In a complaint addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Mr. Shinde said the harassment of deceased assistant matron Anita Rathod, as well as the suspension of another nurse, took place during Dr. Chandanwale’s tenure.

“It is now found that Dr. Chandanwale was incessantly calling up the probe officer and SGH’s dean, Dr. Rajendra Bhosale. Though transferred out of SGH, he was repeatedly calling up the enquiry officer on May 2, 2020, even as the probe was on,” said the complaint.

Mr. Shinde has demanded the enquiry obtain call records. “It would be fairly simple to obtain the call data records of the two doctors and with the use of technological surveillance equipment, the nature of the conversation between the two medical administrators may be revealed,” Mr. Shinde said.

As per procedure, the enquiry should be handed over to an officer of the commissioner’s rank in the State revenue department, he said. Moreover, Ms. Korke should be suspended, pending completion of the enquiry. “Otherwise, it would allow the senior administrators to adversely impact the probe. It is now found that this is in fact what has transpired,” he said. Mr. Shinde has also demanded that Dr. Chandanwale be relieved of the operational control of the State’s nursing department to pre-empt any interference in the enquiry.

Dr. Chandanwale, on his part, denied having made the calls. “I was transferred out of Pune and it is not for me to be concerned with anything (related to the probe) now,” he told The Hindu. “What she (Ms. Korke) is doing is for the enquiry committee (to decide) as it is concerned with everything (pertaining to the issue),” he said.

As for the calls, he said, “Why should I call after the door of SGH was shut for me? When I was transferred, I accepted it and respected the government order.”

And as regards his functioning, Dr. Chandanwale said he was working as joint director in the medical education department in Mumbai, and that his specific responsibility has not yet been fixed by the director, Dr. Tatyasaheb Lahane. “All departments are now being looked after by the director. I am currently concerned with the functioning of the Ayush department as per the director’s directions,” he said.

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