The Dubious MoU That Put Vasundhara Raje in the Eye of the Storm

Can a state-of-the-art cancer hospital be built in just 120 crore? Get all the murky details of the MoU. 

Updated
India
3 min read
Left: The Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon where Minal Modi is undergoing breast cancer treatment. Right: Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje is the latest to get caught in the Lalit Modi storm (Photo: AFP)
As the controversy ropes in more political heavyweights, Lalit Modi, the man at the centre of it,  is viewing the circus from the picturesque European country Montenegro (Photo: PTI)
As the controversy ropes in more political heavyweights, Lalit Modi, the man at the centre of it, is viewing the circus from the picturesque European country Montenegro (Photo: PTI)

As the Lalit Modi controversy got murkier, The Quint was the first to tell you on June 15 that two months after Minal Modi (Lalit Modi’s wife) got operated on for advanced breast cancer at the Champalimaud Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, the hospital signed an agreement with the Rajasthan government to open a state-of-the-art cancer hospital in Jaipur.

Right after the agreement was signed, the Lisbon hospital was allotted 34,400 square metre of prime land in Jaipur.

Unanswered Questions

The Champalimaud Foundation has only one hospital in Lisbon, Portugal. With no other branch in the world, instead of expanding in their own country or the rest of Europe, why did the Lisbon hospital partner with the Rajasthan government for their second hospital?

The economics of this deal doesn’t add up.

In October 2014, the Rajasthan government revealed the deal was closed at Rs 120 crore. Now 120 crore is woefully short to set up a fully functional, well-equipped, upscale cancer hospital of 200 beds.

To give you an example, two years back the West Bengal government sanctioned 563 crore for a cancer hospital in the fringes of Kolkata in Rajarhat area of the same size.

So if the State government pumped in money to seal this deal, will the benefits be passed on to cancer patient as well? Should this not be a charity hospital if taxpayers’ money has been ludicrously used?

Details of Land Allotted to The Lisbon Hospital

‘Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown’, the five-star hospital in Lisbon is in news for as the Lalit Modi controversy is unfolding (Photo: Jose Campos for The Champalimaud Foundation)
‘Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown’, the five-star hospital in Lisbon is in news for as the Lalit Modi controversy is unfolding (Photo: Jose Campos for The Champalimaud Foundation)

The Champalimaud Foundation has been allotted more than 8.5 acres of prime land in Jaipur’s Pratap Nagar area. For a comparison, the Capital’s Max Super-Speciality Hospital occupies roughly the same area.

Now this massive chunk of land is very strategically located for the hospital to target medical tourism.

It is bang in the middle of the NH8 highway, inside the premises of the Rajasthan Health Science University, just 8 kms off the Jaipur International airport and just 9 km from nearest railway station (Durgapur Railway Station).

Given the prime location, this is one of Jaipur’s fastest growing realty destinations and of keen interest to the Rajasthan Housing Board and the Jaipur Development Authority.

Construction work for the hospital is in full swing and should be ready by end of next year.

Details of MoU

Even though Vasundhara Raje denies knowledge of any MoU, a PTI report of October 2, 2014 says the agreement was signed by the Principal Secretary, Medical Education, J C Mahanti and the Champalimaud Foundation’s ED, Joao Botelho “in the presence of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje”.

Even though Raje remains in denial, the numerous archival copies of all wires and newspapers dated back to Oct 2, 2014 carry statements from the Rajasthan CM (Photo: PTI )
Even though Raje remains in denial, the numerous archival copies of all wires and newspapers dated back to Oct 2, 2014 carry statements from the Rajasthan CM (Photo: PTI )

The PTI copy also carried a statement of Mrs Raje, saying , “Lots of people go to Mumbai and other places for treatment even though they cannot afford its cost and it is a very frightening experience for them. Now after the opening of the cancer institute in Jaipur, they will get good treatment here.”

The details of the MoU are sketchy but we know that this will be a 200-bedded cancer hospital in the first phase, set up at the cost of 120 crore by the end of 2016. (Some reports dated back to Oct 2014 say, the hospital will add another 300 beds in the second phase).

The Champalimaud Foundation will provide training to doctors and the para-medical staff and provide the necessary infrastructure for cancer research.

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