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Himachal Medical Purchase Scam: Bribery charges false, says wife of arrested DHS, vigilance says otherwise

Gupta, one of the top health officials of the state, was arrested by vigilance officials Wednesday on bribery charges following investigations into an audio clip, which was shared widely among a network of people

Written by Gagandeep Singh Dhillon | Shimla | Updated: May 24, 2020 8:47:14 pm
Rajkot bribe case, Rajkot gst officers bribe case, gst inspectors graft case, gst news, indian express Rs 27,000 cash has been recovered from Gupta’s house. (Representational)

The allegations of bribery against suspended director of health services Dr Ajay Kumar Gupta are unfounded as all departmental purchases are made through a committee, his wife has claimed even as the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau officials says their investigations have pointed towards corruption by the senior health professional in the purchase of medical supplies in recent months.

Gupta, one of the top health officials of the state, was arrested by vigilance officials Wednesday on bribery charges following investigations into an audio clip, which was shared widely among a network of people. His arrest comes at a time when a large number of medical supplies were being procured by the department of health and family welfare due to the ongoing pandemic.

“In the audio clip, a vague mention has been made of Rs 5 lakh. But what is the context, and if it’s bribery, where is the money? Reports in some newspapers have defamed us saying lakhs of rupees were recovered from our house, whereas investigators found only Rs 27,000 cash with us,” said Dr Madhu Bala, Gupta’s wife, while talking to the Indian Express.

An investigating official said that the bureau verified the contents of the 43-second audio clip and found the allegations to be genuine. “Through our informers, we got leads that the accused accepted a bribe as indicated in the clip. We have seized property papers and other items from Gupta’s residence which are being scrutinised,” said the official.

Dr Bala further said that a committee comprising of several officers has been constituted to procure all medical supplies, and a number of people from the clerical to the additional secretary level are involved in the process. According to the bureau, however, Gupta misused his official position to favour certain suppliers in various purchases made from February onwards, and officials are probing all records and transactions pertaining to these supplies.

Gupta’s wife also alleged that she and her two children were intimidated by a team of around 10 vigilance officials who ransacked their belongings during a raid and failed to follow social distancing norms. “And my husband is not being provided adequate care at the hospital,” she said.

ADG Anurag Garg from the bureau said that he has not heard of these allegations and so he will not comment on them.

Gupta’s counsel filed a bail petition before the sessions judge on Friday, but chose to withdraw it following the prosecutor’s reply, officials said, adding that the bureau will seek a police remand after the health official is discharged from the hospital.

According to his wife, Gupta was due to retire on May 31 after a service of 39 years, including a short service commission in the Indian Army.

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