IT Raid Exposes Doctor 'Referral Commission' Nexus Running Into Hundreds Of Crores

The amount of referral fee transacted in the case of a single lab exceeds Rs 200 crore." We are further examining various expenses to see if more such payments have been made", said a senior IT official.

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Evidence found suggests that cash payments were made to doctors on a fortnightly basis.


Bengaluru: 

Highlights

  1. IT raids were conducted on 5 diagnostic centre chains in Bengaluru
  2. Cuts for doctors was found to be around 35% for MRI tests,20% for CT scan
  3. Labs admitted to previously undisclosed income which exceeds Rs 100 crore
A raid by the Income Tax department on a few Bengaluru-based doctors and diagnostic centres seems to have blown the lid off a doctors-diagnostic centre commission nexus. The raid on five medical diagnostic centre chains in Bengaluru shows that doctors are paid for referring medical tests. 

According to a preliminary investigation, the commission varied from lab to lab, but the median range of  'cuts' or commission for doctors was found to be around 35 per cent in the case of MRI tests and 20 per cent in case of CT scan and other laboratory tests. 

Evidence found suggests that cash payments were made to doctors on a fortnightly basis. However, in some cases, cash was paid in advance to doctors from which the actual referral fees payable is adjusted. Referral fees paid to doctors in cheque is disguised and shown in books as professional fees even though these doctors never visited the diagnostic centres for professional practice. 

"Some of the labs employ commission agents whose job is to distribute money to doctors in envelopes. These agents insert a small chit in these envelopes, while giving it to doctors, which contain the details names of the patient referred by the doctor, doctor's name, tests done, amounts billed against the tests, and 'cuts'/commission amount to be given to the doctor and the date on which the test was done. It is seen that the doctors are very particular about the amounts: where they don't get their "due" they return the envelope. The dispute is later settled with the labs", said the IT Department.

The amount of referral fee transacted in the case of a single lab exceeds Rs 200 crore." We are further examining various expenses to see if more such payments have been made", said a senior IT official.  

Labs searched have also admitted to previously undisclosed income which so far exceeds Rs 100 crore. 

Searches on IVF centres and top doctors pioneering in assisted reproduction has resulted in seizure of cash exceeding Rs 1.4 crore, jewellery and bullion exceeding 3.5 kg, a significant amount of foreign currency and detection of secret foreign bank accounts with deposits running into crores of rupees.


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