Bogus doc worked in hospitals for over a decade

Shyam Acharya, 41, masqueraded as a respected doctor in four New South Wales (NSW) hospitals, including Gosford Hospital (above).
Shyam Acharya, 41, masqueraded as a respected doctor in four New South Wales (NSW) hospitals, including Gosford Hospital (above).PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ MICHAEL SHARPE

SYDNEY • An Indian man faked his identity to fraudulently work in four New South Wales (NSW) hospitals for more than a decade and is now on the run as the Australian authorities try to determine how he was able to evade border controls.

Shyam Acharya, 41, is believed to have stolen documents while in India to masquerade as Dr Sarang Chitale - a respected rheumatology doctor who practises in Britain - to register with the Medical Board of NSW, reported The Guardian.

From 2003 to 2014, Acharya worked at the Manly, Hornsby, Wyong and Gosford hospitals and was even granted Australian citizenship.

After leaving the hospitals, he worked for pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. He also worked for private medical research company Novotech between June 2015 and September last year.

GOING BACK AND FORTH

I have been doing a lot of back and forth trips to Singapore. I will be back on March 31.

SHYAM ACHARYA, in a text message that he reportedly sent to his neighbours in January.

Novotech raised the alarm after it discovered in September that he may have misrepresented his identity and qualifications, prompting an investigation.

Acharya, who had a wife and a daughter, is believed to have fled the country.

"I have been doing a lot of back and forth trips to Singapore. I will be back on March 31," read a text message reportedly sent from Acharya to his neighbours in January, reported ABC News.

Acharya has been charged by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and faces a fine of up to A$30,000 (S$31,950), reported The Weekend Australian.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the authorities plan to seize a home owned by Acharya in North Ryde worth a reported A$1.5 million to recoup the wages paid to the fraudulent doctor.

"We will be doing everything we can to recover the cost of the house so taxpayers can get their money back," Mr Hazzard said. "He owes us that money."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'Bogus doc worked in hospitals for over a decade'. Print Edition | Subscribe