Forensic surgeon at the Madurai Medical College, Dr K Rajavelu, was sentenced for 10 years along with four other private doctors by a CBI court in Madurai in 2018 over a bank fraud case. After appealing against the verdict, he got bail in 2019 and returned to active duty working for another 15 months.
“After getting released on bail, Dr Rajavelu continued to work at the Madurai Medical College conducting post-mortems and even got promoted and transferred to the Coimbatore Medical College during this period,” an official said.
As per regulations, any government medical staff facing conviction is suspended if he/she remains in jail for more than 40 hours. However, the regulations and actions taken in a particular case may vary based on the severity and the type of the case. The State Health Department is currently conducting an enquiry into the lapses that led to the government doctor receiving his salary and remaining on rolls despite his conviction in a criminal case.
When DT Next tracked Dr K Rajavelu and sought a response, he said, “I was placed under suspension in April this year (2020). I am now attending an enquiry. I have also returned the amount I received as salary for the days I was in jail. There was a communication gap.” A Health Department official blamed his superiors for the lapse. “There were officials above him who should have given out information about the CBI case and his conviction. It is still a mystery how his absence from duty for nearly two months turned into leave period and he received the salary,” the official said.
When contacted, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said that the government usually calls for a report in any such case concerned with government medical staff. “As the case is more than one-year-old, the Department will look into it and check if a report was submitted. We will investigate further,” he said.