It took the economic offences wing (EOW) seven years to start a probe against the chief medical officers (CMOs) and chief medical superintendents (CMSs) involved in the multi-crore medicine procurement scam.
It was in 2005 when the state government had recommended a probe against 103 CMOs and CMSs involved in the scam. The medical officers posted in various districts had embezzled government money. The state government decided to hand over the probe to the EOW but no action followed against the culprits as the officers in the EOW put the probe order in cold storage. On Wednesday, the additional charge of the EOW was given to DG, cooperative cell, Subrat Tripathi. Talking to HT on Friday, Tripathi said, “I have directed the investigation officer to submit the progress report on the probe against the CMOs and CMSs. I was surprised to find that no notices have been served to the culprits in the last seven years. I directed the investigation officer to start probe against the culprits immediately.”
The irregularities in the purchase of drugs by the CMOs were detected in a few districts in 2005. Later, the state government ordered an inquiry to nab the culprits. The then director health Ram Babu was appointed the inquiry officer.
During the investigation conducted by Babu, it was found that the CMOs of Jhansi, Kanpur Nagar, Farrukhabad, Etawah, Moradabad, Meerut, Etah, Hardoi, Rae Bareli, Barabanki had purchased drug worth crore in a clear cut violation of the rate contract.
The health and family welfare department sent teams to other districts to probe into the medicine procurement. It was found that medicine procurement racket was running in other districts too. Later, the state government handed over the investigation to the EOW. During the investigation, the officials found that the CMOs posted in these districts had purchased drugs from various pharmaceutical companies in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 without rate contract. Subsequently, an inquiry was ordered against 103 CMOs and CMSs.
The health and family welfare department sent several reminders to the EOW to get details of the investigation report but in vain. A health and family welfare department officer said, “Had the EOW started probe against the CMOs and the CMSs indulged in corruption, it might have checked the multi-crore national rural health mission (NRHM) scam”. Again the CMOs posted in 75 districts siphoned off funds. The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered FIR against 100 CMOs.