Representative image (PTI)
NEW DELHI: In a move that has raised eyebrows in military circles, the commandant of the Army Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment, which has been converted into a large Covid facility for soldiers, has been abruptly transferred out barely three months before his retirement.
The Army, however, called the posting of Major General Vasu Vardhan as “an additional officer” to the Army Hospital (R&R) “a routine transfer” after an 18-month tenure as the Base Hospital commandant.
Major General SK Singh, who was posted as the deputy commandant of the Army Medical Corps Centre and College in Lucknow, has been appointed the new commandant of the Base Hospital, as per the order issued on May 10.
Major General Vardhan, a respected respiratory medicine specialist who was at the forefront of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, lost his mother just a few days ago and was back on duty on the same day. “There is speculation the transfer order was issued after Major General Vardhan refused to entertain some calls for admission or Remdesivir injections from the office of a VVIP,” said a doctor.
Major General Singh takes over as the commandant of the Base Hospital at a time when it is being expanded to a 1,000-bed Covid-19 facility from the initial 450-bed one. The Base Hospital, like other military hospitals in the country, is currently overwhelmed with patients.
Chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday, incidentally, visited the Base Hospital and the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel hospital, which was set by DRDO, to review their overall functioning.