Telangana ACB initiates enquiry into ESI medicine supply “scam”https://indianexpress.com/article/india/telangana-acb-initiates-enquiry-into-esi-medicine-supply-scam-5836291/

Telangana ACB initiates enquiry into ESI medicine supply “scam”

The State government's vigilance and enforcement (V&E) wing, which filed a report in March this year, found that medicines were bought at "exorbitant" prices, in "violation" of the procurement procedures and the e-tender processes.

telangana, esi hospital, medicine supply scam, medicines, dispensaries, drugs, enquiry, anti corruption bureau, indian express news
The probe was conducted over the contracts given to firms for supply of drugs to dispensaries and the ESI (Employees State Insurance) 2016-17 and 2017-18. (Representational Image)

The Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has begun a preliminary enquiry into the alleged “multi-crore” scam in the supply of medicines to dispensaries and ESI hospitals, a senior official said Thursday.

The State government’s vigilance and enforcement (V&E) wing had earlier conducted an enquiry into the allegations that no proper eligibility criteria was followed by the Director, Insurance Medical Services (DIMS), Hyderabad in the selection of firms for supply of medicines.

The wing, which filed a report in March this year, found that medicines were bought at “exorbitant” prices, in “violation” of the procurement procedures and the e-tender processes.

The probe was conducted over the contracts given to firms for supply of drugs to dispensaries and the ESI (Employees State Insurance) 2016-17 and 2017-18.

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The wing had recommended to initiate disciplinary action against the errant officials.

“A preliminary enquiry is going on. The records are being verified. The enquiry is regarding purchase of medicines. ACB is looking into it,” a senior ACB official told PTI.

As per the findings of report, no Drug Procurement Committee was formed by the Director, DIMS, for analysis of requirement of drugs and medicines at the beginning of the year.

The medicines not supplied by the Rate Contract (RC) firms and those not included in the RC list were locally purchased without forming any Local Purchase Committee, which is mandatory, the report said.

Tender Scrutiny Committee was not created by the DIMS to identity bidders through the pre-bid process. The officials have “failed” to identify the eligible firms, and as a result, the quotations were accepted from two or three firms which belong to a single family with minor variation in prices, it noted.

“It can be understood that the officials have deliberately informed very few selected firms for purchasing medicines without giving wide publicity through media for favouring particular firms besides tender enquiries were not published on the department’s website. Only particular firms were informed over phone to submit quotations,” as per the findings.

It is also noticed that certain drugs are procured from the non-RC firms at higher rate when compared to the RC, the report said adding “it is clearly understood that the officials have purchased drugs at a price of their will and wish through Local Purchase without considering the market price and taking into consideration of Rate Contract price thus causing loss to the government ex-chequer.”

According to the report, the officials have “deliberately favoured the firms for undue advantage by paying excess price i,e., 105 per cent to 305 per cent more than the Rate Contract under the guise of emergency medicines” and certain monopoly drugs were purchased from a single firm without recording the valid reasons in the note file.