Police case against Karuna Trust for appointing dr with questionable credentials

[ Tongam Rina ]

ITANAGAR, 25 May: The Tirap police have registered cases against the Karuna Trust and one Amit Kumar Sengupta/Amrit Kumar Sengupta, after it emerged that the organisation had appointed Sengupta – a doctor with questionable credentials – as in-charge of the Lazu primary health centre (PHC).

The cases have been registered against them for endangering life, cheating by impersonation, forgery of documents, breach of trust, and attempt to murder, among others.

While Sengupta is absconding, the police arrested Rabindra Prasad Shapkota, a project officer of the Karuna Trust, on Wednesday.

Karuna Trust, an NGO working in the health sector in Arunachal, had appointed Sengupta as a doctor at the PHC in August 2021.

He was in-charge of the Lazu PHC during the diarrhoea and dysentery outbreak in Pongkang village in Lazu block in July 2022, which killed 11 people, including nine children between the ages of 3 and 7 years.

The police action came after the All Ollo Students’ Union and the district medical officer filed a complaint against the Karuna Trust “for engaging the fake doctor, endangering the lives of people,” and against Sengupta for forging documents.

Investigation into Sengupta’s case revealed that he had been arrested twice by the Assam Police for forging documents and using someone else’s medical credentials before his appointment by the Karuna Trust.

Amit/Amrit Sengupta’s is an intriguing case of deceit and forgery. Using forged documents, he managed to land a job as a consultant cardiologist at Pragati Hospital in Sivsagar, Assam.

Then known as Amrit Kr Sengupta, he was first arrested in June 2020 for discrepancies in his treatment and questionable credibility. He was released three months later in September.

Court paper states that “Amrit Kr Sengupta had contended that he had passed his MBBS final examination in 1986 from RG Kar Medical College and had completed MD from the Manipal Institute of Karnataka, and also obtained a diplomate in national board-DNB and fellow from the same institute in cardiology.”

However, during the investigation, it was found that it was someone named Amit Kr Sengupta who had an MBBS from RG Kar Medical College, Kolkata, in 1987, and that his claims about DNB from Manipal Institute was false.

According to one of the FIRs, he had furnished the Medical Council of India Registration No 45517, which belonged to someone named Amit Kr Sengupta of West Bengal.

A year later, in June 2021, he was again practising as a cardiologist as Amit Kr Sengupta @ AK Sengupta at the Malati Sen Memorial Hospital, Jyotikuchi, Guwahati.

He was sent to jail for more than 50 days after he was busted by the hospital authorities for allegedly using fake certificates to practise as a cardiologist.

In August the same year, while in the middle of court hearings after the jail stint, he applied for the job at the Lazu PHC as Dr Amit Kr Sengupta.

While police investigation is on to find whether Sengupta actually has an MBBS degree and who he actually is, the Karuna Trust has been very vague in its response.

Responding to a query from this daily, Asokan, its Arunachal coordinator, refused to divulge details, saying that he joined after Sengupta’s appointment. Its head office in Bangalore passed the buck to the Arunachal project office regarding Sengupta’s appointment.

Karuna Trust has 13 PHCs across the state, and its PHCs are run on public-private partnership with the state government.