Doc to be questioned after allegations of poisoning another doc

By Leon Berenger

A doctor is to be questioned over an allegation of poisoning a colleague serving at the same state-run hospital at Sevenagala, a senior policeman said yesterday. He said, according to a statement made by a minor employee of the hospital, the suspect is alleged to have instructed him to spike the water in the victim’s overhead tank with an unknown substance.

The suspect’s residence will be searched once a warrant is obtained from court, the officer said, adding that samples of water have been sent to the Government analyst to determine the presence of the poison, if any was found.

The worker had reportedly told police that he had laced the water over a period of six weeks and that the suspect had told him not to fear since the victim would be dead within three months and there would be no trace of foul play.

Meanwhile, the victim, Dr. Chaminda Vithanage left his quarters, inside the hospital premises, yesterday fearing for his safety and police sentries were posted around the complex, while large crowds thronged the area.

“I became suspicious of the minor worker during the past few days as he was always looking up at the water tank, and one day I even saw him smelling water from a tap. Following discussions with other medical authorities it was decided to call in the police to investigate this man’s behaviour. At first he denied anything but later came out with details,” Dr. Vithanage who has been at the hospital for five years, said.

He said the suspect was a known colleague and his motive for the alleged incident was a mystery. “It might be professional jealousy. I really do not know. “More than anything else, I want to know what the poison is so that I can seek treatment accordingly,” the anxious doctor said.

Health Services Regional Director Dr. P. D. K. Adhikari said the department will conduct an inquiry too into the alleged incident beginning tomorrow, adding that the suspect had denied the allegations. He said action can be taken only after police complete their inquiry.

The suspect is being treated at the Embilipitiya Base Hospital following assault by a mob after the allegation became public on Friday afternoon. In November last year a popular doctor was shot, as he stepped out of his dispensary in Karandeniya over a business rivalry with the operator of a nearby clinic. An army captain and two soldiers were arrested in this connection and are currently in remand.

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