The five-member committee formed by the Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy (JJ) Hospital administration will now be questioning ex-dean Dr Mukund Tayade who is accused of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Parshwa Life Sciences (PLS) Ltd for clinical drug trial without informing the concerned authorities. The committee has been asked to submit the report in a week.
“Through a preliminary investigation it was learnt that Dr Tayade had signed an MoU in 2018 under which he had finalised that the PLS will give a rent of Rs2 lakh to the institution, but till date not a single rupee has been received. Moreover, the dean alone does not have power to sign such an MoU as they have to inform the Directorate of Medical Education and Research and seek permission from higher-ups. A show-cause notice has been sent to Dr Tayade and he will also be called for questioning,” said an official.
Dr Hemant Gupta, an honorary faculty at the JJ Hospitals, is also on the committee's radar. His name had cropped up in recent investigations done by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the alleged Covid centres' scam. According to ED sources, Dr Gupta had allegedly looked after the health-technical aspects of the firm which managed these centres. It is a matter of investigation if the PLS and Lifeline Hospital Management Services which provided manpower to the Covid treatment facilities.
JJ Hospital Dean Dr Pallavi Saple said there are many questions which need to be answered by Dr Tayade and Dr Gupta who were conducting stage 3 and stage 4 clinical trials. Moreover, an investigation has also been undertaken against 14 people who were working in the pharmacology department where clinical trials were underway.
A senior official from the hospital said that the clinical drug trials involved several departments, including medicine, orthopaedic, ENT, dermatology, surgery, psychiatry, paediatric. However, the entire process was a mess and the ethics committee, which was supposed to keep a check on the trials, failed to do so, the official added.
When FPJ tried contacting Dr Tayade and Dr Gupta, both were unavailable for comments.