The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, C-DAC, reportedly conducted a search operation in Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) to retrieve messages deleted by the former Director of SCTIMST, Dr Asha Kishor, in connection with alleged data share. The search was conducted based on a request by current Director Dr K Jayakumar.
Earlier, there were allegations that Sree Chitra had shared data relating to a health survey by the Kerala government along with a Canada-based Population Health Research Institute (PHRI). Meanwhile, the authorities claim that the computer department in the institute tried and failed in retrieving the deleted messages and on this background, C-DAC was roped in.
The Kerala government had earlier strongly criticised the previous Congress government for partnering for an almost similar project with PHRI. Following allegations, the then UDF government shelved the project. Later, the LDF had reintroduced a similar project. Then the state government claimed that it was not sharing any data with PHRI. However, ‘The Caravan’ revealed that the State government was lying.
As reported by ‘The Caravan,’ emails were exchanged between senior officials from the Kerala government, PHRI and other medical institutes involved in the project. Those involved include Rajeev Sadanandan, Covid 19 Advisor to Chief Minister of Kerala and former Addl Chief Secretary (Health) Government of Kerala ,Salim Yusuf, a professor at the McMaster University in Canada who heads PHRI, K Vijayakumar, a professor at the Government Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram and KR Thankappa, a professor at the Achuthan Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, Thiruvananthapuram.
These communications reveal that the LDF government was rebranding the Kerala Health Observatory and Baseline Survey, or KHOBS of 2013 which was scrapped earlier by the previous government . The LDF government announced its survey called the Kerala Information of Residents-Aarogyam Network, or KIRAN, two years after returning to power in December 2018. But, Vijayakumar, is also a secretary of a non-profit organisation called Health Action by People, had initiated discussions to bring back the old project. The Health Action by People was involved in both the surveys.