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By A Newsman

Kolkata, 24 February: NOTWITHSTANDING the warming from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals in Kolkata has once again been accused of inflating the treatment cost of a patient and then compelling his family to submit fix deposit certificates for clearing the bill.

Sanjay Roy (30) of Dankuni on the northern fringes of Kolkata was admitted to Apollo on 16 February following a motorbike accident. In eight days until 23 February, the hospital raised a bill of Rs 7.23-lakh although Roy was far from getting recovered.

It was then that his family asked Apollo authorities that they would not be able to afford to carry on with such a costly treatment and urged them to refer him to the state-owned SSKM Hospital in the city.

But according to the bereaved family, the hospital management declined to release him until and unless the bill was cleared in full. Under pressure, the family then paid whatever cash they could arrange and submitted fix deposit certificates as mortgage for the due.

Roy was finally released from Apollo around 09 pm yesterday (23 February) and was admitted to SSKM Hospital, where he passed away early this morning. Following Roy’s death, his family and neighbours broke into a protest against Apollo Hospitals alleging that had not they delayed releasing him over payment of bill, he could have survived.

Getting to know of this, Trinamool leader and former minister Madan Mitra arrived at SSKM Hospital and heard the bereaved family in details. Mitra called up the Rana Dasgupta, CEO of Apollo Hospitals, then and there and lambasted him for overcharging and taking fix deposit certificates as mortgage. He also asked Dasgupta to refund the entire Rs 7.23-lakh to the bereaved family.

Soon after the conversation that was telecast live by a Bengali news channel, Apollo Hospitals convened a Press conference and declined having pressurised the patient party to clear the dues in full.

“It was the patient party who offered to submit fix deposit certificates towards the payment of bill; we never asked for it. In fact, the patient party had said that they would get a bed at SSKM around 10 pm, and our ambulance moved out from Apollo with the patient at 08.33 pm,” the hospital authorities told the Press conference.

Despite the contradictory statements, Apollo Hospitals is likely to face stringent action from the state government. The Chief Minister had herself told the Apollo CEO that their charges were more than that of a five start hotel.

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