Did Andra Pradesh govt 'sell-off' Vishakhapatnam's Gandhi Cancer Hospital? Claim is misleading

By: Rohith Gutta
July 1 2024

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Did Andra Pradesh govt 'sell-off' Vishakhapatnam's Gandhi Cancer Hospital? Claim is misleading

Screenshot of the social media post claiming that the Andhra Pradesh government sold off Gandhi Cancer Hospital in Vishakhapatnam to HCG group (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

The Gandhi Cancer Hospital is a private entity. The stake sale in the hospital is a private-to-private transaction without government involvement.

Claim ID 0e190334

What is the claim?

A claim circulating on social media alleges that the Andhra Pradesh government—comprising the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Jana Sena Party (JSP), and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—has "sold off" 54 percent of the 196-bed Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital in Visakhapatnam to HCG group for Rs. 414 crore.

The claim (archived here) further states that another 34 percent stake will be "sold off" in the next 18 months for Rs. 300 crore. The claim adds that while the previous government "developed the health facilities in the state," the present government is on a “sale spree.” Archives of such posts can be accessed here, here, here, and here.

Screenshot of the social media post (Source: Facebook/X/Modified by Logically Facts)

The Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital and Research Institute (MGCHRI) is a cancer hospital in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, with branches nationwide. HealthCare Global Enterprises Limited (HCG) is a chain of cancer hospitals operating in India.

However, the claim is misleading. While HCG has purchased the majority stake in MGCHRI, this is a private-to-private transaction between two entities, with no involvement or ownership from the Andhra Pradesh government.

What did we find?

A June 28, 2024, report in The Economic Times confirms that HCG acquired a controlling stake in the 196-bed MGCHRI for Rs. 414 crore. The report notes that HCG will initially hold a 51 percent stake, with plans to acquire an additional 34 percent within 18 months.

While the hospital's name is MGCHRI, it is registered with India's Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) as Vizag Hospital and Cancer Research Centre Private Limited. According to the MGCHRI website, the hospital was established in 2005 by nine Non-Resident Indians (NRI) and Indian resident promoters, who are private individuals. MCA records confirm that the hospital is a non-government private entity.

Screenshot of the hospital details from MCA. (Source: mca.gov.in)

Additionally, in a June 28, 2024, filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), HCG noted that this transaction requires no government or regulatory approval. This further confirms the hospital's private status.

Screenshot of the filing by HCG to the BSE. (Source: bseindia.com)

While government hospitals in Andhra Pradesh have cancer centers, the state does not operate a dedicated cancer hospital. The Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Visakhapatnam is funded by the Indian government and the Tata Memorial Centre.

On June 29, 2024, the official Fact Check Unit of the Andhra Pradesh Government clarified on X (formerly Twitter) that this news is false (post archived here), stating, "The following post is completely false. The government has nothing to do with this transaction."

Screenshot of the clarification issued by the Andhra Pradesh government's Fact Check unit. (Source: X/FactCheck.AP.Gov.in)

The verdict

A private transaction between two hospitals has been misrepresented as the Andhra Pradesh government "selling off" a public hospital to private players.

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