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Rediff.com  » News » Bihar: Gautam Goswami helps AIDS patients

Bihar: Gautam Goswami helps AIDS patients

December 01, 2007 16:43 IST

Gautam Goswami, the former Patna district magistrate and key accused in the multi-crore flood relief scam, currently on bail, has began his new role as counsellor for HIV/AIDS patients.

He will now help HIV/AIDS patients as a physician-cum-consellor free of cost in Patna.

Goswami has MBBS and MD degrees from Benares Hindu University.

"I have decided to help HIV positive/AIDS patients free of cost to make their life a little happy and easy," Goswami told rediff.com at Vaccine Clinic, a free counselling centre for HIV/AIDS patients, where he will provide guidance about treatment and psychological counselling.

The vaccine clinic started functining in Patna from Saturday and is regarded as the brainchild of Goswami.

Goswami said there was an urgent need for counselling of AIDS patients given the complexities related to the disease in society and in personal life.

"I will give two hours of time four days a week to help HIV/AIDS patients who are in distress,dejected and rejected to cope with challenges of living with the deadly disease," Goswami said.

Goswami is upbeat over his decision to serve people in need. "It struck me a few months back to help those who are ostracised and stigmatised for no fault of their own," he said.

Goswami, who enjoys reading books on different subjects, recalled that during his stays in Patna Beur jail, he felt an inner call to start a free counselling centre for HIV/AIDS patients.

"My dream has come true now. I will try to make a difference by free counselling, an important part of treatment," he said.

Goswami, an IAS officer of the 1991 batch, after being held in jail for over a year, was granted bail by the Patna high court in 2006 in the case related to the multi-crore flood relief scam.

He has been on bail for about a year after releaseĀ and is waiting for posting by the state government.

The case relates to the alleged swindling of Rs 17 crore meant for providing relief to flood-hit people of north Bihar in 2004.

An inquiry into the matter by the state vigilance bureau was ordered when President's Rule was in force in the state in 2005.

An FIR was filed against Goswami and 27 others in the case on May 28, 2005. Later, all the accused, including Goswami, and scam kingpin Santosh Jha, a supplier, surrendered and were sent to jail.

The registration of a case against Goswami, who was named by Time magazine as a Young Asian Hero for his honesty and efficiency, had shocked the country.

Goswami was also named an accused in another case relating to the alleged defalcation of Rs 1.52 crore meant for urban development schemes. He was given bail in that case recently by Patna high court.

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna