A team from the Morigaon Police Station of Assam Police has apprehendeda person masquerading as a gynaecologist in Morigaon who was at the time serving in the mobile unit of the National Health Mission in the area.
The accused was nabbed based on information and an FIR lodged by Dr Abhijit Neog with the authorities against Md. Sarimul Hoque Mazumder, who was practising as a fake obstetrician and gynaecologist and as the medical officer, MMU (under NRHM), at Morigaon town.
Talking to Drug Today Medical Times, Dr. Neog said, “This individual, serving as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, concurrently holds the position of Medical Officer in the Mobile Medical Unit of the NRHM programme, Morigaon District, offering medical services.”
After humongous efforts spanned over many months, we could collect evidence that this person has been practising with the aid of fraudulent certificates,” he added.
“We have lodged an FIR against him, and today he was nabbed by a team comprising of various enforcement agencies,” Dr Neog told this correspondent from Guwahati over the telephone.
Detailing the evidence that a team headed by Dr Neog collected, the crusader against quackery in the state, who has helped the authorities nab 29 fake doctors since 2016, said, “Our investigation uncovered that this individual lacks any qualification recognised by the law for practising modern medicine and is not registered in the Indian Medical Registry. Registration in the registry is mandatory for all medical graduates aiming to practice the modern system of allopathy and engage as doctors in the field of modern medicine.”
Our first suspicion arose when we got hold of a visiting card where the accused mentioned that he was awarded a gold medal when he completed his MBBS, Dr. Neog told us, adding, “Gold medals are not awarded on graduation.”
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On further investigation, the team found that the accused showed a certificate claiming he finished his MBBS at ‘Narayan Medical College’" linked to Dr NTR University of Medical Sciences. It mentions he was part of the MBBS programme in 2012. Moreover the accused claimed that he had obtained his postgraduate degree from Christian Medical College Vellore, a claim that was refuted by the institute when the investigators contacted them.
In his reply to Dr Neog’s request for confirmation of the claim by the accused, the principal of Christian Medical College, Vellore, Dr Solomon Sathishkumar, wrote back that the accused was not a student of CMC, Vellore.
“Moreover, there are problems with the certificates that the accused produced as well,” says Dr Neog.
Pointing out that the college's name was wrongly spelt as "NARAYAN" instead of ‘Narayana Medical College, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.’ He added, “The missing ‘A’ was a big mistake, and the fake certificate's logo matches the real college's website.”
On further scrutiny, the investigators found that the fake certificate mentioned that it was affiliated with Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences in the header, but the body talks about the University of Ntr with small letters of medical science awarding the certificate.
They further found that the undated pass certificate supposedly has the Vice-Chancellor of the University and the College Principal's signatures. “Usually, vice chancellors do not sign certificates from colleges under their university,” he said.
Adding that the accused produced a registration certificate supposedly issued by the Medical Council of India on June 20, 2022, DR Neog said, “Medical Council of India was dissolved on September 25, 2020.
“How can a dissolved council issue a certificate almost two years after its dissolution?" he asked.
In his FIR, Dr Neog pointed out that the accused also flaunted a Certificate of Lifetime Achievement in Medicine and Commitment to the Art of Medicine, awarded by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), an apex body of doctors in India.
This led him to approach the Assam State President of the IMA, Dr. Arunima Goswami, asking to check if the certificate was genuine. Dr. Arunima Goswami, as the State President, emailed the National Headquarters of the IMA in New Delhi for verification. On November 2, 2023, the Honorary Secretary-General of the IMA replied to Dr Arunima Goswami via email, stating that no individual named Dr. Md. Sarimul H. Mazumder had received the award, and this person was not an IMA member in the first place.
The FIR also mentions that the accused holds several certificates from various NGOs and organisations, raising doubts about their legitimacy and origin and demanding further investigation by authorities.
“It is a serious concern that unqualified individuals are posing as doctors, especially when employed as a medical officer in the Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) under the prestigious NRHM programme of the government, thereby exposing flaws in credentialing qualifications in the recruitment system for such programmes,” Dr Neog argued.
“In addition to committing a criminal act, this individual is deceiving the innocent public and putting lives at risk, which, in my opinion, should be considered culpable homicide,” he added.
“The fact that the accused was practising bang in front of the district civil hospital tells us the state of affairs,” he lamented.