Bengal governor alleges ‘multi-crore scam’
Dhankhar said an inquiry panel set up to probe corruption allegations in the purchase of medical equipment to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic was an attempt to cover up the truth
West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) got into a war of words again on Friday after he said a three-member inquiry panel set up to probe corruption allegations in the purchase of medical equipment to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic was an attempt to cover up the truth. He alleged a multi-crore scam in purchase.
Dhankhar said the panel includes top bureaucrats, who lack credibility and that only an independent probe could track the “money trail and ill-gotten gain”. Home secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay heads the panel.
“Multi Crore Scam-Pandemic Purchase @MamataOfficial. Cover Up Probe-Lacks credibility. Decision Makers (-one) probing to shield culpability #MAP. Post facto saviour mechanism! Independent Probe can alone fasten culpability. Need Probe to track money trail and ill gotten gain,” tweeted Dhankhar.
A state government official this week told HT the West Bengal health department has purchased several items over the past few months. “More than Rs 2,000 crore have been spent. The allegations relate to corruption in this expenditure.”
TMC reacted sharply to Dhankhar’s allegation saying if he has proof of the corruption, then he should give it to the government instead of making statements. “Nobody knows how to deal with the governor’s propensity to go public every day. Can he prove what he is alleging? If he has proof, he should give it to the government instead of making public statements. His statements degrade the dignity of the office he holds,” said TMC spokesman Saugata Roy.
The West Bengal Medical Services Corporation Limited usually purchases medicines and equipment in bulk. But the government formed a committee for procuring these items during the pandemic to avoid delays.
Some of the items were allegedly purchased from particular agencies bypassing rules. The quality of the products has also been questioned. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee ordered the probe.