Saturday, August 06, 2005
Madness for a price
Some startling investigative journalism from Mumbai Mirror:
Money can even buy madness. For Rs 5,000 only, you can put away anyone you dislike/hate/just-want-to-get-rid-of in the Thane Mental Asylum. No doctor's certificate needed, no court order, no identification procedure, why, not even proof of your address.Madness certificates, arrest warrants, babies, you can buy anything these days. What's your poison?
We are not being crazy. Mumbai Mirror correspondents Bhupen Patel, Rimona Ellis and Naveeta D Singh checked out the Asylum's corrupt ways themselves. Bhupen, posing as Deepak Sonawane, succeeded with the help of his "sister" Naveeta in getting papers for his "mentally unstable wife" Rimona's admission cleared by the Asylum superintendent Dr A R Nakalgaonkar by shelling out Rs 5,000.
Of course the correspondents had to go through a 'network' of contacts, starting from the asylum's peon, to get to Dr Nakalgaonkar, and initially the superintendent did make some queries. But all of them were quick and cursory, and once Sonawane told him he was going through hell because of his wife's illness and was willing to do anything to get his wife admitted, the superintendent softened up and politely told him that the admission would "cost Rs 5,000."