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I-T Raids Reveal Doctor-Medical Centre Nexus In Bengaluru, Worth More Than Rs 100 Crore

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| December 3 , 2017 , 08:36 IST

Doctors are treated with the utmost respect and their directions are taken almost as sacrosanct so that the patient can fully heal quickly. But are the expensive medical tests assigned by doctors always medically required?

Income Tax officials in Bengaluru have unearthed a major multi-layered nexus between medical centres and doctors and an undisclosed income of Rs 100 crore after raids at 5 diagnostic centres and 2 in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinics.

According to reports, the doctors were being paid for 'referring medical tests' to the respective centres. I-T officials seized around Rs 1.4 crore in cash, 3.5 kg of jewellery and foreign currency. The officials were also able to detect foreign bank accounts with 'deposits running into crores of rupees'.

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"The commission varied from lab to lab but the median range of normal cut/commission for doctors is 35 per cent in case of MRI tests and 20 per cent in case of CT scan and other lab tests. These payments are found to be disguised as marketing expenses," an official statement from the Income Tax department said. 

Referral fee was paid to the doctors in 4 ways, including through cash payments every fortnight and advance cash payment and was often disguised as 'professional fee' in accounting books.

In some cases, the doctors were 'employed' as in-house consultants.

"However, neither they come to diagnostic centres nor see patients or write reports. This payment is a disguised referral fee," the statement read.

"Some of the labs employ commission agents whose job is to distribute money to doctors in envelopes," it continued.

"These agents insert a small chit in envelopes while giving them to doctors which contains the details -- names of patients referred by the doctor, doctor's name, tests done, amounts billed, cut/commission amount to be given to the doctor and the date on which the test was done," the statement said.