Doctor accused of sexual harassment appointed to AIIMS board

Chennai: The Centre on Wednesday constituted the board of the upcoming AIIMS Madurai, but a row erupted over the appointment of a city-based doctor, accused of harassing an elderly woman earlier, with the Tamil Nadu opposition parties slamming the move.

The opposition also questioned as to why not a single MP was appointed to the board of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Madurai, even as a Congress MP wrote to the Centre seeking revocation of Dr Shanmugam Subbiah’s appointmment from Tamil Nadu.

In the notification published in a Central gazette, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced Dr V M Katoch, President, JIPMER, Puducherry will be the president of AIIMS, Madurai, slated to come up at Thoppur in that district.

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Other members include Dr Sudha Seshayyan, Vice Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, Director General of Health Services (ex-officio), Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India or his/her nominee and Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu or his/her nominee.

Dr Pankaja Raghav from AIIMS Jodhpur, Dr V Vanajakshamma, Professor Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences, Tirupati, Dr Prashant Lavania of Sarojini Naidu Medical College, Agra, and Dr Subbiah, Professor and Head, Department of Surgical Oncology, Government Kilpauk Medical College and Government Royapettah Hospital, Chennai are the other members.

No MPs were appointed to the board.

Dr Subbiah’s appointment came under fire from opposition parties in Tamil Nadu.

DMK president M K Stalin said Subbiah was a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP’s student wing.

In a statement, the Leader of Opposition alleged Subbiah was earlier accused of ‘indecent act’ outside a woman’s house following a reported dispute over parking of vehicle.

“This appointment shows the BJP is not worried about women’s dignity,” he said, adding, the Centre had ‘insulted’ Dr Seshayyan by appointing her also as a member in the board.

Stalin urged Seshayyan to quit from the council.

“I urge Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to immediately remove Dr Shanmugam Subbiah” from AIIMS, Madurai, he said.

Also, with three positions under the MPs column left ‘Vacant,’ he said MPs from the state, especially from south Tamil Nadu, must be included in the board to “show respect to people’s representatives in democracy.”

He urged Chief Minister K Palaniswami to write to the Centre on both issues.

In her communication to Harsh Vardhan, Karur Congress MP S Jothimani alleged Subbiah was caught on camera urinating outside the woman’s house, a charge denied by the doctor earlier.

“I strongly urge you to withdraw his nomination to this prestigious post and send a strong message to the women of the country,” that those harassing them will not be tolerated, she said in the letter.

MDMK founder Vaiko and Madurai CPI(M) MP Su Venkatesan also slammed Subbiah’s appointment and wanted it to be revoked.

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