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BJP alleges ‘ambulance scam’ in Rajasthan

The Opposition BJP has alleged financial irregularities adding up to crores of rupees in the running of emergency ambulance services in the state.

Written by Express News Service | Jaipur |
March 2, 2012 1:21:52 am

The Opposition BJP has alleged financial irregularities adding up to crores of rupees in the running of emergency ambulance services in the state. While the ruling Congress denied all allegations,the BJP said the government was trying to “cover up” the corruption as the sons of two prominent union ministers were associated with the ambulance company.

The BJP alleged than Ziqitza Health Care Limited (ZHCL),which was co-founded by union minister Vyalar Ravi’s son,Ravi Krishna,was hired by the Rajasthan government in a fraudulent manner. Demanding a CBI probe into the matter,the BJP claimed ZHCL had presented fraudulent bills to the state government,which the latter was trying to cover up. Union Home minister P Chidambaram’s son,Karti,was an independent director but has since resigned from ZHCL.

Denying any wrongdoing,State Health Minister A A Khan said: “There were five tenders for the emergency services,of which two were disqualified on technical grounds. Of the remaining three,which included EMRI,the previous service provider,ZHCL had the lowest bid.”

It was BJP national secretary and chairperson of the Scam Expose Committee,Kirit Somaiya,who released documents in New Delhi yesterday alleging that the contract was awarded in a non-transparent manner and that the state health ministry was trying to stop an investigation into it.

“We have sent Somaiya a legal notice following his statements about ZHCL. His allegations are baseless and there is no financial wrongdoing of any kind in Rajasthan,” said Ravi Krishna.

“This scam worth crores was overlooked by the state government. We have raised issues of over-billing and repeat rounds as mentioned by the ambulance companies in their bills to the state government,” countered BJP spokesperson Jyoti Kiran,alleging that ZHCL showed multiple trips for the same patient.

The allegations have shed light on a tussle over payment between the service provider and the state government. Senior health department officials said ZHCL had presented bills adding up to Rs 48.37 crore for the period between July 2010 and December 2011,while state government estimates put the total at around Rs 37.36 crore. ZHCL took up the matter with the settlement of disputes committee,chaired by the chief secretary.

According to senior health department officials,the point of contention between ZHCL and the state government was over the definition of a round trip for an ambulance. “The trip calculation formula is not clear. According to ZHCL,if an ambulance attends to three people in a single trip,they would bill the government for three trips. However,the state government is of the opinion that regardless of the number of patients treated,the money would be released for just one trip,” said a senior health official.

“We have taken up the matter with the disputes committee and they made a few recommendations in December last year. However,the state government is yet to implement any of these recommendations,” said Krishna.

Kripashankar moves apex court against HC order

Senior Mumbai Congress leader Kripashankar Singh has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court direction for his prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act and attachment of his immovable properties in a case of disproportionate assets. On February 22,the HC,holding that prima facie case of criminal misconduct is made out against him,ordered his prosecution.

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