SRINAGAR: Terming the allegations of molestation leveled on him and his three subordinates by a staff nurse as “fabricated” and “baseless”, Director Health Services Kashmir (DHSK), Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, on Monday offered himself to “any kind of investigations”, saying he has proof to prove his innocence.
The DHSK, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Anantnag, Block Medical Officer (BMO) Sallar, and Medical Superintendent (MS) Seer have been booked by police for allegedly trying to molest a staff nurse posted in a primary health centre in South Kashmir.
The case of sexual assault was registered against them after the nurse had approached police with a complaint that the accused tried to molest her at different instances.
Speaking publicly about the incident for the first time since registration of the FIR on Thursday evening, Dr Saleem contested the allegations leveled by the nurse.
“I solemnly pledge and say that all these allegations are fabricated and baseless and I reject these allegations at the very onset,” he said in a statement released to media.
According to him, the nurse visited his office in presence of at least eight persons including surgeon CHC, Hajin, Dr Abdul Rehman, Assistant Director Health, Dr Bashir Ahmad, Divisional Nutrition Officer, Dr Anjum, Deputy Director Dentistry, Dr Fayaz Ahmad, Assistant Accounts Officer Manzoor Ahmad, State T B Officer Dr G A Wani, Medical Officer Shopian Dr Meraj, and a “private person” Zamir.
“She had entered the room on her own without being called or invited in any capacity in person. She interacted with me when all the other persons were present there,” Dr Saleem said.
“At first, I could not recognise her. It was only when she confirmed her placement and introduced herself as spouse of a doctor working at PHC Khiram, I asked her to narrate her grievance. She had nothing to say. She said she worked at Ashmuqam and had been sent by CMO Anantnag. I told her she need not to come here and go back to join her duties,” he added.
“In presence of everyone there, my advice to her was to please go and work sincerely. I didn’t move out of my chair and she also left in no time in presence of the other persons.”
The DHSK said the nurse left the room in a “very amicable and cordial atmosphere and attitude”.
“Her exit along with the exit of other officers who were present in the room is recorded in the CCTV,” he said.
Explaining the incidents of professional misconduct recorded against the nurse and her husband, Dr Saleem said the Directorate’s action against the nurse’s husband may be the reason behind the accusations.
“As per departmental records, she was posted along with her husband at Sallar hospital. Her spouse, an in-charge BMO then, was reverted because of the complaints by local people and also being the junior-most officer. An inquiry by the department ordered by the then Director had found the complaint against both of them correct. Subsequently (the couple was) transferred to Pahalgam hospital,” he said.
“But similar complaints from local people had later forced Deputy Commissioner Anantnag to suspend him. In order to utilise his services, I later attached him to PHC Khiram block Bijbehara, a posting that was seen by him as a demotion. CMO Anantnag transferred his wife to Seer Ashmuqam. I am inclined to think this is the grudge she bore against me,” he added.
Dr Saleem said, “I am ready to face any kind of investigation and shall cooperate with the agencies in their investigation. I have every proof to prove my innocence.”
Meanwhile, the DHSK is filing a defamation case against the nurse.
“I have already talked to my lawyer and I am filing defamation case against the complainant,” he said.