by K SUBRAMANIAN
THE Delhi Government called a two-day special session of the Assembly beginning Friday, June 10, 2016, primarily to highlight alleged corruption and irregularities in the municipal corporations of Delhi. The session was extended by a day and concluded on Monday, June 13, 2016. Speaking at the session, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the BJP-ruled civic bodies were riddled with so much corruption that 95 per cent of councillors would have been in jail if an impartial probe was done. He further alleged that the State government has given substantially enhanced amount to the civic bodies compared to the previous two governments ruled by the Congress and the BJP, but the entire amount was siphoned off and it was shameful that these corporations had no money to even pay for salaries to their employees.
There are innumerable stories of officials working in these civic bodies being involved in rampant misappropriation of funds and irregularities making millions, whereas the city stinks and suffers due to lack of basic amenities. The Assembly adopted a motion to set up a house committee to enquire into charges of ‘rampant corruption and irregularities’ in municipal corporations and recommend measures to improve sanitation, health, and education. Taking the clue, Gfiles considered it appropriate to start a series of investigative write ups aimed at exposing some of the most corrupt officials, manning various departments, who made millions at the cost of suffering to the general public. The first of such cases belongs to the Health Department. Dr Ashok Garg was heading the Diabetic Centre set by the Corporation with much fanfare in Arya Pura, Delhi. Dr Garg allegedly squandered lakhs of rupees by ordering the purchase of medicines that were neither purchased, nor received and were never issued to patients. All this was done with active assistance of his juniors, namely Radha Piari (pharmacist/ store keeper) and Dr Meenu Mahendru (MO). Dr Garg, who is alleged to have illicit relations with some of the female members of his staff, embezzled millions in the name of organising diabetic camps. One can get a fair idea by the following cases as to how Dr Garg did this.
At a camp organised in Gita Colony on September 2, 2007, from 8 am to 12 noon, vide OO No. AD. MHO(M)/1435, to which Dr Garg was the OSD and Radha Piari the store keeper, tests were reportedly conducted on 563 patients (no authentic records for the same were found). For this, 563 blood sugar strips were shown to be used, 2,000 urine sugar strips were used, 2,000 albumin strips were used and 550 urine pregnancy strips were used. But, how is it possible to conduct all such tests for 563 patients within 4 hours? Also, how a diabetic camp is attended by patients who all were pregnant? Also, all things were issued under the signature of Dr Mahendru, the then MO In charge despite storekeeper Radha being present.
Similar mass-scale embezzlement of money is alleged to have been made by organising several such camps, including ones at Jheel Colony on September 30, 2007. Thousands of fake tests were done and medicines/ equipment were shown to have to been used in camps organised at Majlis Park on October 14, 2007, Hardev Nagar on November 4, 2007, Budh Vihar on December 16, 2007, Gupta Colony on December 23, 2007, Uttam Nagar on December 30, 2007, Jonti on January 6, 2008, Rani Garden on January 13, 2008, Karala on January 20, 2008, Roshan Pura on January 27, 2008, and February 3, 2008, Gita Colony on February 17, 2008, Sagar Pur on March 14, 2008, and March 30, 2008, Mandawali on April 6, 2008, Jangpura on April 21, 2008 and April 27, 2008, Nimri Colony on April 20, 2008, and May 4, 2008, Gautam Nagar on May 4, 2008, Shahdara on June 8, 2008, Raghubar Pura on July 19, 2008, Gita Colony on August 19, 2008, Usman Pur on August 19, 2008, Pitampura on October 2, 2008, Gita Colony from October 2, 2008, to October 4, 2008, etc.
Dr Garg, when contacted, said, “No camp was organised without the approval of the higher authority.” He added that the very next day of the camp, a report was submitted to the higher authorities giving the number of patients attended to. As OSD, Dr Garg personally used to place all orders for medicines/ test kits, then receive them, inspect them and even consume them despite having no such financial powers. In 2007, MCD purchased semi-auto analyser and other equipment for diabetic centre at Rajouri Garden laboratory, spending lakhs of rupees. However, these are yet to be used and must have been damaged or spoiled by now. Such brazen and crude were the ways to squander the money that Dr Mahendru purchased kits of Glyco-cylated Hemoglobin, T3, T4 and TSH and these were shown to have been consumed despite there being no machine in the laboratory to use them for these tests.
DR Garg is not only involved in serious financial irregularities, but is also allegedly known to have openly sought sexual favours from female staff attached to him, who were threatened to keep mum. However, Dr Garg said that no female staff member has ever accused him of sexual harassment. An inquiry committee, comprising Dr Dharampal Vashisht, Dr Prabhodh Kumar Sharma and Dr Santosh Kumar, was instituted to look into the irregularities committed by Dr Garg. The committee submitted its report to the Additional Commissioner, Health, on March 27, 2014, vide Diary and dispatch no. 6724/3161, recommending stern action against Dr Garg.
However, the report was dumped by senior officials for the alleged largesse extended to them by Dr Garg. Dr Garg is presently posted as Officer in-charge, Pharmacy and Store, and is actively engaged in the purchases for the department—a position akin to something where the thief is made the king.
VOL. 10, ISSUE 4 | JULY, 2016