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500 Bihar docs got ransom calls: IMA

Sunday 9 January 2005, by JHA*Sachchidanand

PATNA: Indian Medical Association (IMA), Bihar chapter, claimed that over 500 doctors have received extortion calls in the past few months.

It revealed in majority of such cases the victims did not lodge complaints apprehending retaliation. State IMA president V S Singh and secretary Sahjanand Prasad Singh told TOI in Patna alone about 300 doctors have received such calls.

A leading orthopaedic surgeon and assistant professor at Nalanda Medical College here, Dr S S Jha, is the latest victim. On Friday evening Dr Jha was asked by a criminal, who introduced himself as Baba, to pay him Rs 5 lakh by January 10 failing which he would be eliminated.

After Dr Jha lodged a complaint, the district police gave him security on Saturday. Baba, they alleged, was an associate of a politician and involved in criminal cases.

The state IMA secretary said Dr Ranbir Singh, a urologist, who shot into fame after he performed a kidney transplant in Patna a few years ago, keeps receiving extortion threats. He said almost all the doctors in Purnia and at least 50% of the doctors in Darbhanga have received such calls.

The IMA has directed all the doctors receiving threats to either lodge cases, he stated, adding five doctors have been killed by criminals in the last two years. Health services in the state remained paralysed for five days in November last year when about 20,000 government and private doctors went on an indefinite strike in protest against the killing of surgeon Dr N K Agrawal in Patna. Agrawal had refused to pay extortion money to the criminals.

See online : Times of India

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