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'Ramadoss using PM's name questions PM's authority': Vajpayee

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, July 7 (UNI) Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other senior BJP leaders today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to restore the services of AIIMS Director P Venugopal with 'honour and dignity' in the interest of autonomous functioning of academic excellence and country's professionals.

In their joint letter written to Dr Singh before the Delhi High Court stayed the dismissal of Dr Venugopal, the BJP leaders said the 'arbitrary dismissal' of one of the outstanding cardiac surgeons of the country having served AIIMS for over 48 years by the health Minister had shocked the country. He is Padma Bhushan decorated medical administrator whose services were hailed unanimously in Parliament. The decision to dismiss him from the post was totally unwarranted and the haste with which he was humiliated was an insult not just to Dr Venugopal but to the entire profesionals in the country.

Objecting to Health Minister taking the name of the PM for enforcing his decision in the Institute's body the BJP leader said it was a matter of concern. "This must be clarified immediately and only you can do so. This does not brook delay as your own authority as Prime Minister is involved", they said.

They said when AIIMS was observing its golden jubilee of its existance as globally acknowledged medical institution, it was ironic that the Government was feeling otherwise. Even the normal procedure was not followed before action was taken against the Director on the charges of violating the 'code of conduct'.

Elementary justice required that an explanation from the director should be sought before the Institute body has to contemplate a decision, they said It was not the first time when the senior professional differed with the government or even criticised the government of the day in public, but no government retaliated with punitive and vindictive action because India holds its professionals with high regard for then merit and excellence. "This national attribute is also a national asset. Why this is being frittered away so recklessly", the leaders asked the PM. Leaders of Opposition L K Advani, Jaswant Singh, former Human Resource development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and BJP Parliamentary Party Spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra have signed the letter written on Mr Vajpayee's letter head.

The leaders also recalled an incident where a distinguished scientist was suspended from service during the NDA regime but when it came to the notice of the PM, the scientist was reinstated with honour. They did not take the name of the scientist.


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