NCP’s Dhananjay Munde to Raise Medicine Purchase ‘Scam’ in Maharashtra Legislative Council

He claims to have raised the issue in the monsoon session of the state legislature last year, but that the government had brushed it under the carpet.

Dhananjay Munde. Credit: Dhananjay Munde's Picasa Album.

Dhananjay Munde. Credit: Dhananjay Munde’s Picasa album.

Mumbai: Opposition leader Dhananjay Munde said today that the Congress and NCP-led opposition would raise the issue of the 297 crore rupees medicine purchase scam in the Maharashtra Legislative Council this week.

The NCP leader alleged that he had raised this issue earlier, but that the government had not paid heed.

“I had raised the issue during the monsoon session of the state legislature last year. However, like the Chikki scam, fire fighting equipment purchase scam, pulses scam or scam in purchase of great leaders, this scam too was brushed under the carpet by the government,” Munde said.

Munde said that the scam in the state public health department is much bigger than what is being said in the media, and that he will back his claims with proof on the floor of the legislative council.

Referring to Health Minister Deepak Sawant’s statement that the purchase of medicine is done by the Director of Health Services, Munde said, “…then let the secretary run the department, why have the minister?”

Munde, nephew of late BJP stalwart Gopinath Munde, alleged that the government is scared to order a probe into the “scam”.

“If government so readily agrees to constitute a probe headed by a retired judge against a person like Padmashri Tatyarao Lahane, then why is the government scared to probe this scam?” he asked.

He was referring to the calling off of the six-day strike held by resident doctors at the JJ Hospital. The doctors were demanding the transfer of hospital dean Lahane and ophthalmology department head Ragini Parekh.

The strike was reportedly called off on Friday after the government agreed to form a committee headed by a retired High Court judge and two doctors from the Medical Association of Resident Doctors to look into the complaints of the doctors.

Sawant had already clarified that all powers to purchase medicines rest with Central Purchase Committee, and the issue of tenders does not come to him.

The minister had said that “if anything wrong has happened (in medicine purchase) then provide the details to me, I will take action.”

The alleged scam relates to the haphazard purchase of medicines under the National Urban Health Mission, in which allocations are given by the central government.

The state public health department had invited tenders for the purchase of 549 medicines and the allocation of 297 crore rupees was made for this.

The purchase was made for 26 municipal corporations, 65 municipal councils and four cantonment boards.

The advertisements for the purchase of these medicines were issued in newspapers in far away Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim and Assam.

In order to ensure that the allocation does not lapse before March 31, mass orders were issued to suppliers who claimed that they got the orders much after April 15 last year.