Ganesh Chaturthi Ganesh Chaturthi
Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Thane Mental Hospital Row Human Rights body orders probe

Thane Mental Hospital Row: Human Rights body orders probe

Updated on: 26 May,2023 07:22 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Diwakar Sharma |

State Human Rights Commission takes suo motu cognisance of our investigation, cracks down on health officials

Thane Mental Hospital Row: Human Rights body orders probe

mid-day had revealed how anyone can be certified mad and locked up for Rs 8,200 at the RMH, Thane. Pics/Rajesh Gupta

The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has taken suo motu cognisance of mid-day’s investigation (published on May 4) about corrupt practices at the Regional Mental Hospital, Thane where anyone can be certified mad and locked up for Rs 8,200. Chairperson K K Tated has ordered the Principal Secretary of Public Health Department as well as top medical officials to conduct an impartial probe in the sensitive issue. The hearing in the issue will be on July 7. The Commissioner, Health Services & MD National Health Mission has also sought a probe into the matter.

“A very shocking report appeared in mid-day, on May 4, in the form of a special investigation relating to the rampant and unfortunate illegal activities going on at Regional Mental Hospital, Thane. In fact the reporter went undercover and prior to admission was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Not only this, the undercover reporter, recorded the conversation with an alleged scamster / projecting to be a staff member of the hospital,” reads the copy of a notice sent by the Commission to the dean, Regional Mental Hospital, Thane; director, Public Health Services; and  principal secretary, public health department, Mantralaya, last week.

“It is rather shocking to note how such activities are going on under the very nose of the hospital management, as reflected from the conversation between the undercover reporter and alleged staff member and is supported with photographs also. Even proper receipts for payment seem to have been issued to the undercover reporter  as reflected from the news reporting,” reads the notice.

One of the boards displayed at RMH, Thane that says if any staffer demands money for admission, people must contact the head of the institutionOne of the boards displayed at RMH, Thane that says if any staffer demands money for admission, people must contact the head of the institution

“Occurrence of such incidents in the mental hospital needs to be deprecated strongly as it only reflects complete lack of supervision and control by the higher supervisory authorities that in other words only indicate a vicious circle working in the very premises of the hospital,” it further reads. “Considering the gravity of the news article, which squarely falls within four corners of Sec. 12(1) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, suo motu cognisance is taken,” reads the notice that concludes saying that the hearing is on July 7.

Another probe ordered

The medical superintendent of RMH, Thane Dr Netaji Mulik told mid-day, “The Director of Health Services, Dr Swapnil Lale, has been asked by the Commissioner, Health Services & MD National Health Mission (NHM) Dheeraj Kumar, to conduct a thorough investigation in the matter.”

“We have already terminated the contractual employee Satish Shyamrao Gunjal, who was seen taking a bribe on camera. We have also suspended the hospital staff Sunil Shinde, who had conversed with mid-day’s undercover reporter Samiullah Khan to admit his ‘cousin’ Faizan Khan (the other reporter) at RMH, Thane,” Dr Mulik said.

The RMH, Thane has always been in the news for the wrongdoings of its staff members who directly or indirectly report to the head of the mental asylum ie Dr Mulik, who has not been suspended till now. Following the order of Kumar, sources at the RMH, Thane told mid-day, a team led by Dr Lale  arrived to conduct an internal enquiry on May 10.

“After you published the story on May 4, a state-level enquiry committee was formed and Dr Lale was made its chairman. He arrived here on May 10 with his team. But no partial investigation took place,” said the source at RMH.

When mid-day asked Dr Lale if Dr Mulik would also be axed as he is the head of the mental asylum which is riddled with malpractices, he said, “We are conducting our internal investigation in the matter. We have collected certain pieces of evidence which we cannot afford to reveal at this point of time.”

‘Won’t tell mid-day’

“I have been asked by the commissioner, Health Services to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter and I will submit my findings before him, not before mid-day,” Dr Lale underlined. Asked why no legal action has been taken against the corrupt people involved in the racket, Dr Lale said, “Ideally, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) should have taken suo motu action in this matter and you (mid-day) should have submitted all the pieces of evidence including the videotapes before it (ACB) for necessary legal action but nothing such was done.”

Dr Lale tried to convince the journalist not to publish anything. “Though I thank mid-day for exposing the facts, I will tell you not to publish anything now related to the RMH, Thane. Your article will be a serious impediment in our enquiry,” Dr Lale said. It is pertinent to mention that mid-day categorically has been offering since day 1, to top health officials including Dr Mulik and Dr Lale, every piece of evidence its undercover reporters have gathered during their Special Investigative work, provided they approached the newspaper through legal means. But nothing happened.

The RMH Thane is reportedly running with staff who give room to private contractors to supply manpower at the premises. Sources at RMH have told mid-day that these contractual employees work as collection agents and later, the share of illegal money - collected from the aggrieved families for locking-up their mentally unstable relatives at the facility, is shared among the corrupt people. “How can one believe that the head of the facility is not aware of this illegal practice at the facility?” wondered the source at RMH. In the recent past, two of the contractual employees – Gunjal and Vinod More, who were the staffers of Pune-based Lokrajya Swayanrojgar Seva Sahkari Sanstha, have been terminated.

Contractor not blacklisted

Asked why the contractor has not been blacklisted yet, Dr Mulik said, “No no, he is a big shot…” Dr Lale replied, “I cannot take decisions on my own. I will have to go through the terms and conditions of the contract paper.” He added that big boards have been displayed in prominent places at the OPD of RMH, Thane. “The boards say that if anyone demands money for the admission of patients at the RMH, people must contact the head of the institution,” Dr Lale said. But when this reporter asked why no direct number to the head of the institution was displayed on the board, Dr Lale said, “Ok, this also I will get done soon.” 

July 7
Day MSHRC will hold the hearing in the case

Will you take intranasal vaccine as a precautionary dose?

Register for FREE
to continue reading !

This is not a paywall.
However, your registration helps us understand your preferences better and enables us to provide insightful and credible journalism for all our readers.

Mid-Day Web Stories

Mid-Day Web Stories

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK