Expediting its probe into the purchase records of the Jalandhar civil surgeon’s office between 2012 and 2014, the vigilance bureau (VB) has recorded statements of nine members who were part of the then purchase committees.
As per a copy of the letter with HT, the vigilance had called district health officer (DHO) Dr Jasbir Singh, district family and welfare officer (DFWO) Dr Gurmeet Kaur, then assistant civil surgeons Dr BS Multani, Dr M Bali, Dr Tarsem Singh, then Jandiala senior medical officer (SMO) Dr Varinder, medical officer (MO) Dr Surinder Kumar, then epidemiologist Dr Satish Kumar, and then district programme officer of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to the Patel Chowk office on April 1.
The health department, however, pleaded that it would affect the routine works of some officers and requested the VB to record their statements in their offices. Following this, the sleuths visited their respective offices to gather information about the working of purchase committees.
The members briefed the sleuths about the role of members and chairmen of the purchase committees during the period 2012-13 and 2013-14.
The entire mechanism, including inviting quotations by advertising in papers, setting the eligibility criteria, technical and financial bids and other important facets, was explained to the cops. DHO Dr Jasbir Singh told HT that the members also handed over a joint statement to VB sleuths about the process followed by the purchase committee.
Probe progress so far
The VB had already questioned former civil surgeon Dr RL Bassan as part of the probe into the purchase of electronic equipment and other items on March 22. VB sleuths had asked him questions pertaining to the utilisation of funds by his office during his tenure besides recording his statement.
Besides Dr Bassan, the VB also grilled other staff members, including a storekeeper and an accountant, and recorded their statements. The probe agency had also taken in its possession records of bank statements of the civil surgeon’s office accounts. A senior official said the inquiry would take some time to complete.
Hindustan Times has some copies of invoices purportedly issued by the surgical firm Dev Surgical Industries containing purchase of an LCD computer and other items, but the firm owner had claimed that his company did not deal in such products.
As per the invoice number 28, the civil surgeon’s office had purchased an LCD computer, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system, a printer and a central processing unit (CPU) with a DVD writer from the firm. An invoice of Rs 38,867 was issued to the office with Rs 2,217 as VAT by the firm.
Invoice number 32 and 33, with the same bill amount for the same products, were issued the same day. The same products were again purchased by the civil surgeon’s office on January 4, 2015, against invoice number 37 for the same amount.