CBI turns the heat on Sri Sri’s medical college in Bangalore
Thanks to Kitapati for posting this.
Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar established an ayurvedic medical college in Bangalore in 2004 to produce good physicians, scholars and teachers who could spread the knowledge of the ancient medicine system in the world.
Six years later, the Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Science and Research finds itself under the CBI scanner for running the institution allegedly without adequate faculty strength, infrastructure, and an attached hospital.
The CBI has accused the college management of tampering documents to get permission from the Union health and family welfare ministry to start the ayurvedic college, which is run by the Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir Trust. Gautam Chellaram, a shipping magnate, heads the seven- member trust.
The trust runs more than 100 educational institutions, from nursery schools to colleges offering postgraduate studies in management, journalism and ayurvedic medicine, across the country.
The Bangalore- based anti-corruption branch of the CBI registered a case two months ago against unknown officials of the college and the Central Council of Indian Medicine ( CCIM) on charges of cheating, corruption and collecting huge capitation fee from students.
The CBI’s Bangalore- based sleuths conducted a joint search with Union health ministry officials and found that the college continued to violate the government norms. CCIM had verified and approved the private institute despite the glaring shortcomings in terms of infrastructure and facilities.
College principal Sarveshwar Kar said: “ The CBI can level whatever charges they want. But we approached the Karnataka HC on October 26 and they have allowed us to admit the first batch.” However, the ministry’s
Ayush department’s official website shows the college has been barred from fresh admissions this year.
“There might be a little bit of lacunae since we are in a transition phase. Despite that, we are building a new hospital and another college campus with ultra modern facilities,” Kar said.
CBI said when the deputy director of Ayush, M. A. Kumar, came for a surprise check in August, he found the college had a built- up area of 20,000 sq ft, which was smaller than the stipulated single plot of 480,000 sq ft.
Also, the hospital runs from a semi- permanent structure on a rented area of 6,000 sq ft. This, too, contradicted the Indian Medicine Central Council (IMCC) Act of 1970 , which says that a 100- bed hospital — spread over 20,000 sq ft — should be in the same campus, and not 6 km away as in the case of this institution. On February 23, 2004, the Karnataka government’s health and family welfare department recommended granting affiliation to the college to start a graduation course in ayurvedic medicine for an initial batch of 50 students.
The recommendation came with a rider that the college should fulfil the conditions required to get the approval of the CCIM and seek affiliation from the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore.
The sleuths have found out that the CCIM inspection team allegedly did not flag major shortcomings during their three consecutive visits to the college since 2008. The team did not point out that there were no documents to support ownership of a mandatory hospital and the teaching staff were only five against the stipulated requirement of 35 — a fact denied by the management. Though these violated the IMCC Act, the executive committee of the CCIM did not recommend to the Union health ministry that the college be banned from taking students, CBI sources alleged.
On August 4, 2004, the department of Ayush gave permission to conduct the first year studies at the college. The recognition of the graduate course till the final year examination was to be obtained subsequently as per the IMCC Act.
CBI sources said days after giving the go ahead, Ayush instructed the ayurvedic college to fulfil the guidelines and submit a compliance report by August 14, that same year. Instead of adhering to the directives, the college has been allegedly conducting classes for bachelor of ayurvedic medicine science taking in 50 students every year ( total 250) without meeting the CCIM requirements.
The CBI officers alleged the college has been taking capitation fees of ` 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh under the management quota. Kar said the money is utilised for students’ benefit since the institution “ is not a profit- making body” and worked without support from the government.