Delhi HC seeks response from CBI, AIIMS ex-director in plea alleging financial irregularities at hospital
Delhi HC has issued a notice to the former director of AIIMS and the CBI, in a case regarding procurement of disinfectants and fogging solutions for AIIMS trauma centre at exorbitant rates
In a case of embezzlement of funds, the Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the former director of AIIMS and the CBI seeking responses from them in a case regarding procurement of disinfectants and fogging solutions for AIIMS trauma centre at exorbitant rates without any quotation by certain former officers. The matter has been listed for hearing on September 14.
In a case filed by Janhit Abhiyan in 2017, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma issued notices to CBI, former director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Dr MC Mishra, then professor in-charge of purchases Dr Amit Gupta, ex-store officer TR Mahajan and partners of firm Drishti Medicos and Surgical.
According to the petitioner, all the accused persons conspired together to cause loss to the exchequer by embezzling funds through procurement of goods in violation of the Central Government General Finance Rules. Moreover, favouritism has been alleged because Drishti Medicos is owned by the son and daughter-in-law of Mahajan (the former store officer).
It has alleged that Mahajan, in collusion with Gupta, purchased the disinfectants and anti-fogging solutions from the firm without any tender or quotation, on the basis of a forged proprietary certificate, at a substantially higher price. This is despite the same items being purchased in the main hospital through a rate contract.
Proprietary certificates are given to proprietary items, which can be described as goods which are “innovative in nature, technologically so complex that they are manufactured by a particular firm”. However, the items in this case are general in nature as they are disinfectants.
To facilitate this purpose, alleged the petitioner, forged entries were made into the certificates regarding efforts made to locate alternative source of such anti-fogging items. An internet search of these items has revealed that they were available at much cheaper prices.
The plea claims that Mahajan made the purchases of cleaning disinfectants and anti-fogging solutions were made from November 2012 to March 2014 by declaring them as proprietary items. Most of these purchases were more than Rs 2 lakh and below Rs 25 lakh each and as per the 2005 General Finance Rules, the process of limited tender enquiry had to be adopted. However, in order to favour Drishti Surgical Medicos, the GFR provisions were deliberately violated.
These purchases were made possible because of the approvals from both Gupta and Mishra. Despite forged proprietary certificates being used for several purchases by Mahajan, both Gupta and Mishra never objected and never attempted to enquire about the proprietary nature if the goods. The AIIMS vigilance officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi too found misappropriation of funds by illegal means to pass benefits to Drishti Medicos. The plea underscores that the matter was referred to CBI and preliminary enquiry found irregularities in the purchases.
The complaint was initially filed before a trial court seeking action which dismissed it without waiting for the action-taken report, after which the petitioner approached the high court challenging the lower court’s order.
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