CBI unearths ` 40 cr scam in health scheme

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow
A MULTI- CRORE scam has been unearthed in the Central Government Health Scheme ( CGHS), which is operational in 25 cities across the country.
The CBI, which conducted a series of raids at offices and dispensaries across the country in connection with the scam, is estimating a swindle worth ` 40 crore in just five states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
CBI sources said ` 40 crore is only a conservative figure based on the documents seized in the raids being conducted since Wednesday.
“ About ` 6 crore of the scheme money was embezzled in UP, ` 5 crore in Maharashtra, ` 4 crore in Bihar and ` 2 crore in Jharkhand.
So far, it appears that the officers of CGHS siphoned off 60 per cent of the total funds granted by the Centre by awarding contracts to firms involved in supplying substandard medicines. A total ` 40 crore was misappropriated between 2011 and 2013,” a source in CGHS said.
This CGHS promises comprehensive healthcare to sitting and ex- MPs, ex- governors, ex- vicepresidents, freedom fighters, sitting and ex- judges of Supreme Court and high courts, central government employees, pensioners and their dependents.
Although government estimates suggest there are more than two crore beneficiaries of the scheme in India, enquiries by M AIL T ODAY revealed that hardly one or two patients visit the four CGHS centres in UP — Allahabad, Lucknow, Kanpur and Meerut.
A CBI source said the agency was preparing to file a preliminary inquiry in the scam at 20 centres of the five states in the country. “ There are clear evidence to prove swindling in the scheme in Pune, Lucknow, Meerut, Jabalpur, Patna and Ranchi. In Lucknow, norms were flouted to award the contract for supply of medicines to Chandan Healthcare Limited in September 2011. But the firm supplied substandard medicines.
No record of purchase or supply was maintained. Even the joint director of CGHS in UP, from March 2010 to May 2012 and again from February 2013 till date, Dr Rakesh Asthana, didn’t keep any record. Same was the case with Dr Dinesh C. Joshi, who was joint director between May 2012 and February 2013,” a CBI source said.

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