A 51-year-old conman was arrested by the Vasai police on Wednesday. The fake ortho-surgeon Hemant Patil alias Hemant Sonawane, and former civic medical chief of Vasai-Virar, Sunil Wadkar, arrested last year, allegedly worked together and performed multiple ‘botched surgeries’. Interestingly, Sonawane used to sell spices before performing surgeries.
Sources have told mid-day that Sonawane, who was a salesman in a spice manufacturing company, used a fake orthopaedic degree from Baroda Medical College and the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) registration number of another doctor.
“He was a salesman in a spice manufacturing company in Maharashtra. Later, he joined a company to sell orthopaedic devices and equipment and visited several states for years. While working as a salesman of orthopaedic devices, Sonawane thought of starting his own ortho clinic, for which he needed a medical certificate. So, he got a fake orthopaedic degree and started a clinic,” the source said. Sonawane had been running his one-room clinic at Vasai since 2018, said a source.
Sonawane’s fake degree
“He was a consultant at many hospitals in Vasai-Virar and Nalasopara. The patients had to pay high amounts as consulting fee. There are many patients on whom Sonawane conducted surgeries, and all are bed-ridden…few of them can’t move on their own. It is the complete failure of the local municipal corporation, who allowed him to establish his footprint in Vasai for years,” said the source.
Civic medical officer lodges FIR
“The civic medical officer, Dr Vasant Patil, registered an FIR on December 29 but the accused absconded. We also sent a team to Baroda to enquire about the authenticity of his degree that turned out to be fake. There are patients on whom Sonawane performed ortho-surgeries. They are bed-ridden. We have recorded statements of around six such patients and investigations are on in full swing,” Karpe told mid-day.
“Our investigating team had been regularly monitoring his locations and finally arrested him from Thane on Wednesday,” he said. The FIR is registered under relevant Sections of the IPC and Indian Medical Act, he added.
The complainant, Dr Patil, said, “Since Sonawane had been running his clinic in Vasai, we sent him a notice to submit relevant documents related to his degree and Maharashtra Medical Countil (MMC) registration number. But he did not pay heed. I also sent him several reminders, yet he did not reply. Sonawane was never found in his clinic. A woman staffer was always present there. One notice was also pasted on the shutter of his clinic.”
“One day, I sent a staff nurse to his clinic and she handed over the notice to him, yet he did not submit his documents at the municipal corporation as per the rule. Since this was alarming, I informed CMO Dr Bhakti Chaudhary. Finally, I approached Vasai police station and registered an FIR against him,” Dr Patil told mid-day. However, the vice president of BJP minority cell, Tasnif Shaikh, said that the matter came into light only after he submitted a complaint before the Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar Police Commissioner Sadanand Date in mid-December last year.
“Dr Patil was forced to register a complaint against Sonawane, who was running his clinic since 2018. Sonawane is a fraud who has conducted multiple surgeries after which many patients got bed-ridden. I have also learnt that Sonawane and Sunil Wadkar, the owner of Highway Hospital and former chief medical officer (CMO) of Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC), have worked together and conducted many surgeries. This is a matter of investigation,” Shaikh told mid-day.
Sources have told mid-day that Sonawane first married a dentist who later registered a cheating case against him in Amravati after she learnt that he was not an orthopaedic surgeon.
“He was arrested in the case and remained imprisoned for nearly nine months. But later he changed his location and got married to another woman… Till date, he has got married to five women,” said the source.
In a bid to lure a good woman into marriage, Sonawane had an account on a matrimonial site. Describing his education on the matrimonial site, he wrote, “I have done MS (Orthopaedic), also I have done UPSC.”
In other details, Sonawane mentioned that he was not married and his annual income was upto Rs 10 lakh.