Dean files Rs 1-cr defamation suit against Desai, teachers, students extend support

The Pune City Police detained activist Trupti Desai of the Bhumata Brigade early on Thursday for threatening to blacken the face of Sassoon Hospital and B J Medical College Dean Dr Ajay Chandanwale. Police later released Desai after issuing a notice as part of a preventive action. The move comes days after Desai had, in a press conference, accused Chandanwale of submitting a fake disability certificate to get selected as the dean of BJ Medical College. Desai had also alleged Chandanwale’s links with BJP leaders in Jalgaon and threatened to blacken his face. She had sought Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s intervention in the matter, and had demanded that the government should conduct a test on Chandanwale’s physical disability and release the report within 15 days.

Chandanwale, meanwhile, filed a Rs one-crore defamation suit against Desai, following which the Pune City Police detained Desai from her residence in Katraj area early on Thursday. The dean has refuted all allegations leveled against him by Desai, claiming that he was appointed as the dean of Sasoon hospital and B J Medical College as per rules of the Maharashtra Public Service Commission.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, representatives of various associations, including the Association of State Medical Interns and the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, came out in support of Chandanwale. Dr Sanjay Tambe, president of the BJMC chapter of the Maharashtra State Medical Teachers’ Association, told mediapersons on Thursday that Desai had threatened the dean over the issue. Tambe said, “During his seven-year tenure, Chandanwale tried to upgrade the government hospital by bringing funding to the tune of Rs 85 lakh from various corporate firms. Apart from modernising the kitchen and providing wholesome meals to patients, a neonatal intensive care unit was also renovated by the dean.”

Dr Murlidhar Tambe, deputy dean at B J Medical College, said Chandanwale had filed the defamation suit in his personal capacity. “The issue was raised earlier too, and the High Court had ruled in Chandanwale’s favour. Due to these threats, however, we are facing difficulties in discharging are medical duties,” he said.

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