Srinagar: A controversy over the post of Professor in Surgical Oncology has led Governor NN Vohra to call a meeting of the governing body of Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) on Monday.
Members of the SKIMS governing body told Kashmir Reader that some days ago they received a communication from the SKIMS Director’s office, informing them about the meeting scheduled on Monday.
The members, who wished not to be named, remained tight-lipped about the agenda of the meeting.
According to sources, a controversy over appointment to post of Professor in Surgical Oncology has prompted the Governor to call the meeting immediately.
Recently, senior oncologist and former HOD, Surgical Oncology Department, at SKIMS Soura, Dr Altaf Gauhar Haji, wrote a detailed letter to the Governor highlighting “wrongdoings” in the institute.
Dr Haji also sent the letter to J&K Police’s Crime Branch demanding an investigation into the case.
As per the letter, a copy of which is with Kashmir Reader, the current Director SKIMS has “misled (the) competent authority to favour a General Surgeon, Dr Sameer Naqash, in the appointment of Professor in Surgical Oncology”, by “misquoting directions of the J&K High Court” and violating norms set by the SKIMS Governing Body from time to time.
“Post of Professor in Surgical Oncology was advertised in 2012 and Surgical Oncology being a rare branch, no one was actually eligible but Dr Sameer Naqash from General Surgery, who was at that time working as additional professor in General Surgery, applied for the said post,” reads the letter.
The letter said that the Dean SKIMS at the time wrote a letter to Medical Council of India (MCI) asking for permission to consider the application of Dr Sameer Naqash. The letter to MCI mentioned that Dr Sameer Naqash had done a fellowship in GI oncology in Tokyo Japan, but it was not mentioned that this fellowship was as an observership of a few weeks, Dr Haji said.
“MCI has not given any permission till date, as permission can be taken for any candidate who has less experience than required and not for the person who has neither been trained as Surgical Oncologist nor worked in Surgical Oncology department. Dr Sameer has whole life worked in the General Surgery Department of SKIMS and is presently Professor in the Department of General Surgery,” Dr Haji’s letter said.
Dr Haji said that he wrote to MCI and raised objections. He said that no permission was ever granted by the MCI to consider Dr Sameer’s application, and the SKIMS screening committee also did not consider him for the said post. However, in 2013, the then Director SKIMS issued a letter and intimated Dr Sameer Naqash to be present at the interview venue on May 25, 2013, so as to determine his eligibility by the Apical Selection Committee.
In his letter to the Governor, Dr Haji wrote, “I submitted a petition to High Court and Justice Hasnain Masoodi was kind enough to pass a direction on 23/05/2013 directing Director SKIMS ‘not to finalise the selection for the said post, and interview, if any’. Copy of the said direction was sent to Director SKIMS but, still, the Director SKIMS called the said candidate to the venue. At the venue, the expert of Surgical Oncology, Prof Manoj Pandey, along with other members told Dr Sameer that he was not eligible for the said post and could not be interviewed. It is also worth mentioning that as per SKIMS Apical Selection norms, two experts have to be present to conduct the interview for the post of Professor. In the case under consideration, only one expert was present.”
The letter added, “Since then, this post was re-advertised by then Director SKIMS, Prof Showkat Ali Zargar, quite a few times.”
According to Dr Haji, the post was re-advertised by Prof Zargar in 2016 and the advertisement notice clearly mentioned that because of lack of experience and qualification of the previous candidate, this post was being re-advertised.
“All of sudden in 2017, Dr Sameer Naqash after a lapse of more than 3 years, approached the court and claimed that he was interviewed and selected in 2013 for the said post. The SKIMS administration has submitted objections against his claim and has clearly mentioned that he is not eligible for the said post as per MCI guidelines,” Dr Haji said.
Recently, the J&K High Court quashed the stay on filling the post of Professor in Surgical Oncology and directed SKIMS to advertise the post and fill it as per MCI requirements.
Dr Haji wrote in his recent letter to the Governor, “Now it seems the in-charge Director SKIMS has made a misleading move by submitting a file to your office to get the competent authority’s approval in favour of Dr Sameer Naqash… by misquoting directions of Honourable High Court J&K. I will really appreciate if this matter can be seriously examined and addressed accordingly.”