A PIL filed in the Bombay High Court has alleged that the BMC had misappropriated public money by procuring 12 cardiac ambulances for Rs 9.85 crore, allegedly three times higher than the market rate.
The PIL filed by Kandivali-based activist Mehul Kataria claimed that information availed under the RTI Act had revealed that the corporation had procured the ambulances for Rs 60 lakh each after its standing committee approved the purchase on May 11, 2009. The supplier, Sudip Traders, was appointed to provide the 12 ambulances for Rs 60 lakh each, the PIL stated.
Kataria’s lawyer Madhav Thorat told the court that various other reputed suppliers had provided similar or better-equipped cardiac ambulances to hospitals like AIIMS in Delhi, the Mumbai International Airport and leading hospitals like the Seven Hills hospital and the Asian Heart Institute had been procured for one-third the price of the ambulances purchased by the BMC.
While Justice V M Kanade and P D Kode asked if the petitioner was litigating on behalf of a competitor, they said that the alleged misappropriation will have to be examined.
“We need more ambulances,” Justice Kanade said. He added that in many cases of railway accidents, victims die because of blood loss as they are not taken to the hospital in good time. “We will take notice of your petition to see if any good can be done,” Justice Kanade said and issued notice to the BMC.
The PIL urged the court to call for the necessary records from the corporation pertaining to the purchase of the 12 cardiac ambulances and direct the necessary action against BMC officers responsible for misappropriated public funds.