Uttam Kumar Barua, who was removed from the office of Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital director in November 2020 on corruption charges, allegedly resorted to fraud in earning his MBBS degree as well as in getting the government job.
Being unqualified to sit for MBBS admission tests, he forged the admission documents of MAG Osmani Medical College in Sylhet and used that documents to migrate to Mymensingh Medical College as a first year student in 1984-85 session, found a health ministry primary investigation.
Uttam, also ruling Awami League-backed doctors’ platform Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad joint secretary general, later joined Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital as a medical officer without sitting for the BCS examinations, the investigation found.
Resorting to forgery throughout, Uttam climbed the ladder of his career and has been in government services for 27 years.
‘I cannot take action against a person who holds a post of the director at the Directorate General of Health Services or principal at any medical college. But I have sent all the related documents to the ministry to take action,’ said DGHS director general ABM Khurshid Alam.
When asked, health ministry additional secretary Muhibur Rahman said that they were busy with other activities related to the Covid-19 and cannot make a move about Uttam now.
‘We need some time to look into the matter,’ he told New Age on Wednesday.
Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council, the statutory body with the responsibility of establishing and maintaining the standards of medical education and recognition of medical qualifications, said they were investigating the matter.
‘We came to know of the matter of his forgery in earning MBBS degree and we have started investigating the matter lately,’ said BMDC president Mohammad Shaidullah.
‘It takes time, but the process is on,’ he said on Thursday.
Uttam’s forgery came to about the notice of the health ministry during an investigation of his corruptions of about Tk 6.5 crore in medical equipment purchase.
The investigation committee, which submitted the report in January last year, found his involvement in the corruption and was removed from the SSMCH, suggesting further investigation into his medical degree and legal action from the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The commission is now investigating three cases of his corruption.
According to the MBBS admission circular issued in 1984-85 session, the requirement for sitting for MBBS admission tests was 1,200 marks in total in SSC and HSC, according to the admission test circular published on Ittefaq on September 30, 1984.
But Uttam’s total marks was 1,111, according to his SSC and HSC mark sheets obtained by New Age.
Uttam’s academic documents show that he passed the Secondary School Certificate examinations in 1980 from Aburkhil Amitabh High School with first division. His total score was 628.
Later in 1983, he passed the Higher Secondary School Certificate examinations through improvement from Sheikh Mohammad College in the second division obtaining 483 marks.
To be eligible to take part in the admission test for the MBBS course of 1984-85, an average of 60 per cent marks in the two examinations was made compulsory.
According to the complaint lodged with the Anti-Corruption Commission, when the migration process started from one college to another, Uttam committed fraud through a clerk named Monir Ahmed of Sylhet Medical College. Uttam Kumar Barua’s name was typed in the space above the principal’s signature in the migration list. He later migrated to Mymensingh Medical College.
Uttam Barua studied at Mymensingh Medical College and became a doctor.
In 2018-19, the health ministry formed a committee to investigate various irregularities at Suhrawardy Hospital, including the purchase of medical equipment. The issue of fraud in admission to MBBS courses also came under the scanner.
Uttam Barua has given his statement before the inquiry committee.
He claimed that after participating in the merit test in 1984-85, he was admitted to Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College. He claimed that he was migrated to the Mymensingh Medical College following rules.
He told the inquiry committee that he does not have any documents related to his MBBS admission.
The investigation report, signed by Ismail Hossain, an additional secretary, said, ‘The allegation of admission in Uttam Barua’s MBBS course is serious. According to the committee, Uttam Barua claimed that the allegation was not true. If the government is interested in verifying whether his MBBS admission was correct or not, it is possible to decide by collecting the records of the Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College, according to the inquiry committee final report submitted to the ministry in January last year.
Born on February 3, 1965, Uttam Kumar Barua joined the government service on 22 September 1997 as a medical officer on a temporary basis under a project. He was 32 years and six months old when he joined the service, although the age limit for entering the job was 30 years. From then on he occupied various positions at Suhrawardy Hospital.
In 2013, he was promoted as an associate professor and was appointed as an officer on special duty at the health ministry.
Two months later, he joined Suhrawardy hospital again and became the director of the hospital on July 7, 2015.
According to the complaint submitted to the ACC, Uttam has been using two different codes at different times. Though his real code is 107271, he used code number 1010609 in different places of employment, including mentioning it in his biodata.
Uttam is not a BCS cadre. But by showing himself as the 21st BCS cadre, by including his name in the foundation training list in 2010, he completed the training and received the certificate as recognition. But as a non-cadre, he is not supposed to receive the foundation training.
Uttam has denied using two code numbers to the inquiry committee.
In 2016, the health ministry also found evidence of corruption in the purchase of equipment including MRI machines at the Suhrawardy hospital.
As a punishment for his corruption, his salary increment was suspended for one year.
The latest corruption case was filed against him in 2018-19 for irregularities in the purchase of various equipment at the hospital and on the charge of misappropriating Tk 6.5 crore.
The Anti-Corruption Commission has received three cases on various issues including his illegal assets.
The investigation committee formed by the health ministry before the ACC cases found evidence of corruption against Uttam Barua and recommended departmental action.
After nine months, on October 29, health secretary Abdul Mannan issued a show-cause letter to him and also removed him from the Suhrwardy hospital. He was made officer on special duty at the health ministry.
On March 7, a Supreme Court lawyer, Ishrat Hasan, sent a legal notice to the concerned officials of the health ministry, the BMDC, the DGHS, law ministry, home ministry and the Anti-Corruption Commission asking them to strip Uttam of the academic certificate and medical doctor certificate and recommending his removal from the government services and return of his earnings from the government exchequer in 15 days.
Ishrat said that Uttam resorted to fraudery all throughout his academic and professional life.
‘He should be punished,’ she said, adding that she was preparing for the next course of the legal procedure as the authorities concerned did not respond to her notice.
Uttam could not be reached for comments. He did not respond to the calls or messages sent by New Age.
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