The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday filed a case of fraud against the son of former Union minister P Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram, and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot among others over alleged irregularities in allotment of a contract for operating 108-Ambulance service in Rajasthan.
Former Jaipur mayor Pankaj Joshi in a police complaint had alleged irregularities in granting the contract to Ziqitza Health Care Private Limited and other violations, including over-billing, by the firm. The complaint with Ashok Nagar police station in Jaipur was filed on July 31, 2013, but an FIR was lodged only after a change of government in the state in late 2013.
The state government recommended a CBI probe into the case on October 20, 2014.
Others named in the case are state Congress chief Sachin Pilot, former Rajasthan health minister AA Khan, Ravi Krishna, son of former Union minister Vayalar Ravi, and directors of Ziqitza, the firm entrusted with running the ambulance services.
"A case under section 420, 467, 468, 471, and 102-B of the IPC was filed on allegations of irregularities in award of tender in favour of the firm by deliberately inserting technical specifications and irregularities in the implementation of the project which included excess bills claimed by the firm and paid to them" a CBI spokesperson said. A CBI team is conducting searches at the offices of Ziqitza in Mumbai and Jaipur and further investigations into the matter are on.
Before Ziqitza, the ambulance service was operated by EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute), but its tender was scrapped on April 4, 2010 citing some irregularities in its functioning and payments. Thereafter, the tender was given to Ziqitza for three years and the company was paid Rs 88 crore for the services, reports say.
The probe conducted by Ashok Nagar police (a copy of which is with HT), on the basis of which the FIR was lodged, had concluded that Ziqitza got tenders through influence of senior political leaders, produced several fake bills, showed several trips for one patient, double bills for a same trip, and even got payment by producing photocopies of bills.