The Income Tax Department on Saturday uncovered a nexus between doctors and diagnostic centres in Bengaluru, after raiding several medical establishments. In some cases, I-T sleuths found that doctors were paid crores for referring medical tests to certain laboratories.
Investigators in Bengaluru carried out searches at 21 centres of two fertility clinics and five medical diagnostic centres over the week, Bangalore Mirror reported. Officials seized over Rs 1.4 crore in cash, 3.5 kg gold and bullion and foreign currency. They also found that the centres had foreign bank accounts with huge deposits.
The I-T Department said the raids helped uncover “the various methods of how doctors are paid for referring medical tests”. “The commission varied from laboratory to laboratory, but the median range of normal cuts or commission for doctors is 35% in case of MRI tests and 20% in case of CT scans and other lab tests,” it said, adding that the payments were disguised as marketing expenses.
After the raids, the laboratories declared an undisclosed income of more than Rs 100 crore. But in one case, the referral fee of a single lab was more than Rs 200 crore, the I-T Department said. In other cases, doctors were paid the commission in cheques disguised as professional fee.
“Some of the labs employ commission agents whose job is to distribute money to doctors in envelopes,” the I-T Department said. “These agents insert a small chit in envelopes while giving them to doctors, which contains the details – names of patients referred by the doctor, doctors’ names, tests done, amounts billed, cut/commission amount to be given to the doctor and the date on which the test was done.”
The IVF centres and its doctors will be booked under the Black Money Act, according to the Bangalore Mirror report.