Goa pradesh Congress committee president Girish Chodankar on Sunday alleged Rs 30-40-crore scam in the procurement of medicines for the Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim.
Addressing media persons in the city, Chodankar demanded suspension of GMC dean Dr S M Bandekar and other GMC officers for their alleged involvement in the scam.
He sought a judicial probe into the case, and said that Health Minister Vishwajit Rane should be divested of health portfolio.
The Congress has been pursuing the alleged scam case since December 2019. In fact, former chief minister Digambar Kamat had raised the case on the floor of the state legislative assembly, Chodankar said.
Chodankar had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant over the alleged scam, seeking a probe into it.
Modi had named an IAS officer to investigate the case. The bureaucrat submitted a report to the GMC dean, Chodankar said.
Thereafter nothing came of the probe, he maintained.
Rane addressed a press conference along with Dr
Bandekar, and denied any
wrongdoing in the medicine procurement for the GMC.
Throwing light on the alleged scam, the GPCC chief disclosed that medicines are being procured from a private firm which does not figure in the government-approved list of medicine suppliers.
The medicines are being bought at exorbitant rates, sidelining the previous Goan suppliers, Chodankar said.
The Congress leader alleged that the Health Minister along with Dr Bandekar and his team manipulated the terms and conditions to disqualify all the Goan medicine suppliers, who had objected to the alleged manipulations.
A new tender was readied on August 6, 2018 by the GMC and was forwarded to the government for its approval after a technical and financial bid evaluation was done by the GMC drug purchase committee, Chodankar said.
Anticipating a delay in approval of the 2018-19/4116 tender, the GMC took a written consent from the Goan suppliers on May 31, 2019 to continue with their supplies at old rates.
During this period the Goan distributors supported the GMC by supplying medicines at the prices approved five years ago.
Alleging that the Goan suppliers’ pending bills running into Rs 2-3 crore have not been cleared by the government, the state Congress chief said the Congress will take this issue very seriously as it involves the health of the patients who are being fleeced.
However, the Health Minister said the private firm works in many states of the country, adding that a tender worth Rs 60 crore was floated for the purpose.
Rane said that Dr Bandekar is the finest doctor, and hence he has been appointed as the GMC dean.
“I have given comprehensive answers (on the matter) in the state legislative assembly. He (Chodankar) should ask MLAs to furnish the answers to him. The matter has already been scrutinised by the court,” Rane said, adding that the GPCC chief is simply trying to create issues out of nothing.
“We are trying to give medicines to all the GMC patients… I can even have a one-hour debate with him (Congress leader),” Rane said.
Chodankar can move court, either the High Court or the Supreme Court. The matter is already in the High Court, the Health Minister said, asking the Congress leader not to play with the lives of people of Goa for political mileage.
Finalisation of a tender takes time. It takes time for the GMC to decide on the tender worth crores of rupees, as around 4000 items have to be inventoried. They have to check everything and then send the file to the finance department for approval, he explained.
Giving an example of this year’s tender worth Rs 60 crore, he said that the amount has been divided, and only Rs 20 crore has been released.