WHAT BULL, SAY TATA DOCTORS
Tata Memorial director Rajendra Badwe and his team slam BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur for ‘misguiding’ patients; ex-JJ Dean TP Lahane, under whose watch she was examined in 2010, says her tests had shown no signs of major ailment
Top Mumbai oncologists have slammed BJP’s Bhopal constituency candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s claims that she beat cancer through a combination of cow urine and other cow products. The Tata Memorial Centre director, Dr Rajendra Badwe, himself one of the seniormost breast onco surgeons in the country, said that there hasn’t been a shred of evidence to show that cow urine or other such products were remotely useful in cancer treatment.
“There are no studies to support such claims. Only radiotherapy, chemotherapy and now immunotherapy are accepted worldwide as scientific treatments for breast cancer,” Badwe said.
Pragya has claimed that she was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, when she was in the custody of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for her alleged involvement in the 2008 Malegaon blasts. At that time, she had undergone a series of tests at JJ Hospital. The then Dean of JJ, Dr TP Lahane, told Mumbai Mirror that there were “no signs” Pragya was suffering from a major ailment. “The CA 125 breast marker test to determine cancer was negative. Her MRI scan report was absolutely normal, and so was the ECG report,” a senior doctor from JJ Hospital said.
Pragya, who recently raised the hackles of senior police officers for her comments on 26/11 martyr Hemant Karkare, told a TV channel on Monday ahead of filing her nomination that she was a patient of cancer. “I cured myself by consuming gau mutra and panchgavya mixed ayurvedic herbs,” she said.
Badwe and his team said that such claims could “mislead” people. Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, deputy director of Tata Memorial Centre and senior head and neck oncology surgeon, said, “Such statements can misguide cancer patients who reach out to hospitals only at advanced stage of their disease.”
Dr Shripad Banavali, academics director of the centre who has published several research papers on breast and paediatric cancer, said breast and blood cancer are highly treatable but with proven scientific treatment. “If someone claims that gau mutra cures breast cancer, can they prove this through any study?” he questioned.
Dr Sultan Pradhan, top surgical oncologist of Prince Aly Khan and Breach Candy hospitals, said claims like that of Thakur should not be endorsed. “Every day, I see patients who go for such non-evidencebased treatment and by the time they reach the hospital, it’s too late,” he said.
A doctor from the team of specialists who had examined Thakur during her stay at JJ hospital said a battery of tests had proved that there was nothing wrong with her. “She did not allow any doctor to even touch her, leave alone administer any medication. Her CA-125 breast marker test was negative for the presence of cancer.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mumbai refused to bar her from contesting the election, saying it was the not the right forum to do so. The court, however, came down heavily on the NIA for giving her a clean chit in the blast case.
Referring to NIA’s response to a plea filed by the father of a victim of the blast against her candidature, in which the agency said it hadn’t found prima facie evidence against Thakur, special judge VS Padalka said it was not clear why this point was even mentioned in the first place in the reply. The applicant Nisar Sayyad’s application had made no mention of the clean chit by the NIA. “At this juncture, the NIA cannot state that there is no prima facie evidence against Thakur, especially when it has not challenged the order of rejection of her discharge application,” the court said.
As for the application, where Sayyed had accused Thakur of orchestrating the blasts and urged the court to cancel her bail, judge Padalkar said, “This court does not have any legal powers to prohibit anyone from contesting the polls. It is the job of electoral officers to decide. This court cannot stop the accused from contesting the polls… a wrong forum has been chosen.”
During arguments, Thakur’s lawyer JP Mishra was asked “not to cross the line” after he told the court that Thakur was fighting for her ideology and for the “sake of the nation” despite her physical pain.
Six people were killed and over 100 injured in a blast at Malegaon in Nashik district on September 29, 2008. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had arrested Thakur and others in the case, alleging they were part of a Hindu extremist group that carried out the blast.
The NIA, in 2016, gave Thakur a clean chit, but the court did not discharge her. It only dropped charges against her and all the other accused under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), but she is still facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Indian Penal Code.
—WITH INPUTS FROM SHARMEEN HAKIM
Pragya Singh Thakur was examined at JJ Hospital in 2010
(From top) Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Dr Rajendra Badwe, Dr Shripad Banavali and Dr Sultan Pradhan