In the duplicate anesthesia workstation machine scam, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials said the tender document was riddled with loopholes, allowing the contractor to take advantage and cheat the civic body. Senior officials said documents such as certificates of country of origin, insurance certificate, airway bill, bill of entry and custom clearance for the import of goods were required as per the civic body’s procurement manual prepared by the central purchase department. Also, for the medical devices to be imported, the bill of entries and certificate from the clearing agent is required.
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“But, there is no mention of it in the anesthesia workstation machine tender’s terms and conditions. Also, there is no clarity about the things that are included in the third party audit report. The contractor seems to have taken advantage of it,” said an official.
Another official said the BMC had no procurement manual when the tenders were floated in April 2013. The procurement policy was prepared by the civic body after that. “So, all such tenders were called based on the existing methods, circulars or orders. So, it seems the officials from the central purchase department floated the tenders using the prevailing system,” explained the official.
He said the inquiry into the fake machines had suggested fixing these loopholes. Subsequently, the BMC made amendments. Following the inquiry, civic chief Ajoy Mehta ordered registration of an FIR against five officials. But the FIR has not yet been filed.
“The quantum of punishment was not the same for all the officials and the additional municipal commissioner was deputed to fix responsibility and decide on the punishment accordingly. Action will be initiated in a couple of days,” said the official.
The scam was exposed in September last year. It brought to light that out of 51 UK-made machines ordered by the civic body, 31 machines were duplicate. BMC had paid Rs 6 crore to procure the anesthesia workstation machines from the UK. Subsequently, the BMC blacklisted the contractor permanently and also blocked its vendor registration to prevent him from participating in bids of other departments. It has also filed an FIR against the contractor, M/s Universal Organic, in Agripada police station.
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