A resident doctor who worked to save the lives of critical patients in the emergency ward of a leading Patna hospital has been sacked and is facing a litany of charges, including forgery to gain employment, said people familiar with the matter.
Mohammad Shamim Farooqui, 40, an MBBS graduate from Kathmandu in Nepal is facing charges of forgery, cheating, criminal misconduct, among others, after Paras HMRI Hospital, a multispecialty private healthcare provider with national footprint, filed an FIR against him.
Farooqui is accused of flunking a vital test required of Indian foreign graduates to practice medicine in India. But he allegedly produced fake documents to register with the Bihar Council of Medical Registration (BCMR) and become eligible for employment.
Farooqui’s alleged shenanigans came under the scrutiny of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has been investigating at least 73 foreign medical graduates across India and officials of the erstwhile MCI (now the National Medical Commission) and state medical councils since December 2022, said officials. The hospital filed the FIR against Farooqui at Patna’s Shastrinagar police station on May 12 at the CBI’s behest, said the people cited above, who asked not to be named.
A medical student who earned a foreign degree abroad must pass the Medical Council of India (MCI) screening test, also known as the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE), to become a medical practitioner in India. Farooqui failed to clear this exam in 2012, according to a copy of the police complaint filed by Dr Nitesh Kumar Mundle, medical superintendent, Paras HMRI Hospital, which HT reviewed.
Farooqui worked with a hospital in Haryana, before moving to Paras, where he was a casualty medical officer between December 16, 2020, and May 10, 2023, prior to being sacked, said hospital officials, requesting anonymity.
Aakash Sinha, unit head of Paras HMRI Hospital, told HT that the matter is under investigation by the CBI and under trial at the special CBI court. He did not elaborate, saying “the matter is sub-judice”.
Medical superintendent Dr Mundle was also not available for comment.
Senior hospital officials blamed the BCMR for not checking the genuineness of Farooqui’s testimonials.
Employers rely on the registration certificate issued by the state medical council because the result of the screening test is not publicly available, said one hospital official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. In the case of Farooqui, his registration certificate issued by the BCMR was genuine, but the documents against which he got the certificate were allegedly fake, this official said.
Dr Sahajanand Prasad Singh, registrar of the BCMR and former president of the National Indian Medical Association (IMA), contested this version of events. “It is not possible … the state medical council would never issue a registration certificate to a doctor with a foreign degree if s/he had not cleared the FMRE.” “Our staff scrutinise every case minutely before we issue registration certificates to any doctor,” he said.
When told that the hospital claimed it had checked for the state medical council registration, which was available in the public domain as part of the Indian Medical Register on the NMC website, Singh said, “The doctor concerned must have registered with the MCI and got a no-objection certificate (NOC) from it. We may have issued him a registration certificate on the basis of NOC from MCI, as was the rule then. We have not committed any wrong at our end.”
Paras HMRI has been rocked by a slew of exits in the recent past, including some established doctors such as former MCI president Dr Ajay Kumar (urology), Dr Nishant Tripathi, Ashok Kumar (both cardiology), Dr C Khandelwal (surgery), Dr Khurshid Malik, Dr Shahina Kamal (both laboratory medicine) and former medical superintendent Dr Asif Rehman. Four unit heads have also moved on in two months, including regional director (east) Dr Talat Halim, who quit in March after being associated with the hospital since 2016. Three others, who joined after him, had either left or been sacked, the latest being Sanjay Srivastava, who exited last week. Hindustan Times