What is cooking at Army Base hospital in Delhi?

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From K Nishindra

New Delhi: Unceremonious ouster of Major General Vasu Vardhan, Commandant – cum – Medical Superintendent of the Base Hospital, Delhi cantonment, has triggered a fresh controversy amidst the Corona crisis.

Major General Vasu Vardhan (left) handing over charge to Major General Sanjeev Kumar Singh

Major General Vardhan was replaced by Major General Sanjeev Kumar Singh, from Lucknow who took over the charge from Vardhan today.  Major General Vasu Vardhan was transferred as Additional Officer at Army Hospital (Research and Referral), Delhi Cant.

According to insiders, the shuffling at the Base hospital is not a routine one and rather a fall out of the tussle between the Ministry of Defence officials and the Army hospital administration.

The ministry communiqué says that it’s a routine exercise. But insiders claim it is a punishment, rather Maj Gen Vasu Vardhan has been ‘fixed’ and a “cautionary advisory” sent through the ranks and files of the defence forces top brass, to toe the line at the whims of bosses or be ready to face the music.

There were allegations from many circles, through tweets and the media reports alleging that someone from the MoD wanted undue favours from Maj Gen Vardhan, which was turned down by this upright officer.

The Base Hospital with more than 600 beds caters to the needs of armed forces personnel, mostly the covid 19 patients in recent times.

Was it a demand for a supply of remdesivir, or a bed for a special care of someone influential in the ministry, or simple some other undue favour in the name of covid care, needs a thorough probe.

In the line of fire are the names of few junior officers in MoD, namely one under Secretary Rewati Raman, or anyone else higher up in the hierarchy, an issue that needs proper investigation.

Considered as one of the best chest physicians in the country with a DM degree in pulmonary medicine, so much needed in the care of covid 19 patients, Maj Gen Vasu Vardhan has been managing the affairs of this hospital since last 18 months, when the first round of covid hit the country..

He had been instrumental in upgrading the Base Hospital as a top class covid care institution in India.

A testimony to his exemplary services is that this year he was conferred Vishishta Sewa Medal (VSM) by President of India.

As per the information, he hardly took a day off from duty in recent times, just to ensure his services as specialist chest physician and as an administrator were uninterruptedly available to the institution. Barely 48 hours before he received his marching orders, he had lost his mother, and had taken few hours off to attend to her funeral.

A retired general was furious stating that this was high time the Chief of the Army, General Bipin Rawat should have intervened, and put a stay on this order. It’s a rare occasion that just before three months of one’s retirement; such a senior officer is transferred.

A tweet from a retired Lt Gen H S Panag, who was once Army Commander of Northern and Central Command, apparently sums up the whole story, saying, “ More to it than meets the eye. If you can not make the upright bend, then you get them out of the way.”

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