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Shyam Acharya, the man accused of holding himself out as a medical practitioner stole the identity of a former friend and flatmate, Dr Sarang Chitale, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Acharya moved to Australia in 2003 under the name of Sarang Chitale and got a job at NSW Health as a doctor. He worked at four different public hospitals in New South Wales for eleven years before his cover was blown last year when the Australian Health Practitioner’s Regulation Agency said they were investigating him.
Shyam Acharya and Sarang Chitale were friends and he lived at Chitale’s Pune home in India for two years from 1998 to 2000.
Dr Chitale is a well-known rheumatologist in the UK.
His father Prakash Raghunath said Acharya moved into their family home when they were living in the US, saying he had some financial troubles.
“Once around 1998, I got a call from my son asking if he can allow his friend Dr Shyam Acharya to stay with him. He said he had some issues and wants to help. So I said if he is your friend, I have no objection.
“Later in 2000, my son came to know that Acharya has cheated him. He used his name to withdraw cash from the bank. He siphoned off a lot of money from my son’s account ... I am surprised that he had forged his signature too,” The Daily Telegraph quoted Dr Chitale’s father as saying.
He also confirmed that the Australian authorities had visited them to investigate the matter.
A neighbour said Dr Chitale and Shyam Acharya worked in a hospital in Pune.
“Dr Chitale and Shyam Acharya were good friends. They used to live together. I don’t know if (Acharya was a doctor). Both of them were working together in a hospital somewhere in Pune. It has been a long time since I saw both of them.”
Shyam Acharya is believed to have fled to India after charges were filed against him earlier this year.
He got Australian citizenship and gained registration with the Medical Board of New South Wales in 2003 allegedly using the stolen identity.
Acharya then worked as a junior doctor at four different public hospitals before taking up a job at a pharma company.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the state government will seize his $1.5 million home in North Ryde to recoup the salary paid to him.
Earlier, Seven Network reported that a special strike force has been formed to have him extradited back to Australia to face the court.
He faces a fine of $30,000.
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