Ombudsman gives notice to officials over medicine scam

May 1st, 2008 - 3:13 pm ICT by admin  

Bhopal, May 1 (IANS) Following an allegation by Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders that the chief minister and other government officials were involved in a Rs.1 billion medicine procurement scam, the state’s Lokayukta (ombudsman) Ripusudan Dayal has issued notices to the officials concerned, seeking their response by May 30, official sources said Thursday. State Congress president Suresh Pachauri, leader of opposition Jamuna Devi and spokesman Manak Agrawal had Tuesday filed a complaint with the Lokayukta against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Health Minister Ajay Vishnoi, senior officials of health department and Madhya Pradesh Small-scale Industries Corporation (MPSIC).

The Congress leaders have alleged that irregularities to the tune of Rs.1 billion had taken place in the purchase of medicine through MPSIC. They requested the Lokayukta to register a first information report (FIR) against the officials under different sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Lokayukta Wednesday began preliminary investigations and directed the officials concerned to submit the factual details related to the case by May 30.

“Medicines are being purchased at a price that is 40 to 50 percent higher than the prevailing market rate. This way, loss of over Rs.1 billion has been caused to the state exchequer. Purchases worth Rs.1.7 billion have been made at higher prices,” Jamuna Devi told IANS.

She alleged that Chouhan and Vishnoi had a role in the scam since they changed the medicine purchase policy and centralised it.

“The chief minister’s secretariat was also involved in the whole episode and this was evident from the fact that chief minister’s secretary was given the additional charge of MPSIC managing director.

“There have been cases when purchases have been made without approval and payments have been made even without the supply of medicine. I have a notesheet of the health commissioner saying that medicines worth Rs.125 million have been purchased without prior approval,” she said.

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