Employees of a Punjab-based firm allegedly colluded with the former health department director to secure orders to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for corona warriors.(HT Photo/For representation only)
Employees of a Punjab-based firm allegedly colluded with the former health department director to secure orders to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for corona warriors.(HT Photo/For representation only)

Voice samples of former director match with audio clip linked to HP health dept scam

A voice alleged to be Dr Gupta’s is heard demanding a bribe of 5 lakh for supply of medical equipment in the audio clip. The voice of a pharma company agent, Prithvi Singh, can also be heard
By HT Correspondent | Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, Shimla
PUBLISHED ON AUG 23, 2020 05:30 PM IST

Trouble is brewing for former director (health) Dr Ajay Gupta as his voice samples have matched with an audio recording being investigated by the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau for links to a medical equipment scam.

Reports of the sample were released by the forensic lab in Shimla on Saturday evening.

The 43-second audio clip that went viral in May this year during the lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak has been the focus of investigation in the scam.

In the audio clip, a voice alleged to be Dr Gupta’s is heard demanding a bribe of 5 lakh for supply of medical equipment. The voice of a pharma company agent, Prithvi Singh, can also be heard discussing the amount to be paid.

Dr Gupta, who has been booked under sections 7 and 8 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was arrested on May 20. A local court granted him bail on May 30.

According to vigilance sources Dr Gupta and Prithvi Singh did not agree with the amount to be paid as bribe as the latter was allegedly willing to accept 3 lakh whereas Dr Gupta demanded 5lakh.

Three more similar audio recordings surfaced during the forensic examination of over half a dozen mobile phones seized by the vigilance bureau in connection with the case.

POLITICAL AFTERMATH

The corruption case in which employees of a Punjab-based firm were found to collude with Gupta to secure orders for supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for corona warriors had left the ruling BJP red-faced.

It had political repercussions as the then state president of BJP Rajeev Bindal, appointed just a few months ago to the post, resigned on May 27 after his name was dragged into the scam.

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