Nagpur: The newly appointed Nationalist Congress Party’s State General Secretary and an independent Corporator Abha Pande has claimed a scam brewing in Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) regarding funds received from Central and State Government for purchase of medical equipment and other logistics for treatment of Covid-19 patients in Nagpur.
The NCP leader further said that the documents obtained by her show the NMC paid over Rs 11,990 each for an infrared thermometer from one firm while it procured similar equipment for Rs 1680 a piece. The NMC purchased pulse oximeters for Rs 5000, Rs 1445, Rs 1792, and Rs 2400 each though it could procure it for Rs 595 only, Pande alleged.
“Moreover, the funds from the Central and State Government were meant specifically for dealing with Covid-19 pandemic but the civic body used the funds for purchasing anti-rabies injections. Thus the administrative officials misused their position and indulged in financial irregularities. When the information was sought under the Right to Information Act, the NMC officials resorted to hiding their mistakes by providing misleading information,” Pande claimed.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Pande claimed to have exposed irregularities in NMC’s Health Department while spending money received under State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) and National Health Mission (NHM).
Pande said the Health Department provided information only regarding Rs 5.28 crore expenditure. “Out of this amount, I have figured out fraud of Rs 1.50 crore. This could be just a tip of iceberg while the magnitude of financial irregularities could be much higher,” the NCP leader claimed and added the civic body procured PPE kits for Rs 840 each whereas the private hospitals in Nagpur procured the same for just Rs 500.
The NCP General Secretary further claimed that despite being Covid positive, the then NMC’s Health Officer DrYogendra Sawai signed many files and sanctioned purchases. “The Covid positive patients should have been in home isolation as per guidelines. Then how did Dr Sawai sign the files? questioned the leader.
“Moreover, only one bill was cleared from two funds – SDRF and NHM funds. The RTI reply points out the purchase proposal and work order without date. Different heads of departments signed the files on the same date and thus exposed the irregularities,” Pande stated.