The Bold Voice of J&K

HC refuses to quash FIR in Asha Kit Scam

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JAMMU: The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court refused to quash the FIR registered by Vigilance Organization (Now ACB) in Asha Kit Scam.
Justice Sanjay Dhar while dismissing the petition filed by Managing Director of Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd, observed that the petitioners in their capacity as Managing Directors while entering into a criminal conspiracy, appointed representatives for entering into negotiations with the Director Health Services in respect of NIT relating to supply of drug kits and in furtherance of this conspiracy, certain private companies, who otherwise were not qualified to supply the drugs, supplied the drugs thereby gaining undue benefits from the Directorate of Health Services at the expense of State exchequer. These allegations against the petitioners/Managing Directors are in their personal capacity, so it is not a case where they are being prosecuted in respect of the acts committed by the Companies of which they happen to be the Managing Directors. The question, whether these allegations relating to conspiracy leveled against the petitioners/ Managing Directors are established after investigation of the case, is a matter which can be decided only after the investigation is completed and the case is considered by the learned Special Judge for framing of charges. At this stage and in these proceedings, this question cannot be gone into by this Court.
In the impugned FIR, it has been alleged that a preliminary enquiry was conducted to enquire into the allegations regarding purchase of medicines worth crores of rupees on exorbitant rates by the Director Health Services, Jammu ignoring all the formalities and standing instructions regarding such purchases. It was further alleged that the medicines had been procured from the firms which had been permanently de-registered/blacklisted by the Directorate General Health Services (Medical Stores Organization) R.K. Puram, New Delhi.
The preliminary enquiry revealed that Mission Director, NHRM had requested Director Health Services, Jammu that various drug kits were to be supplied to the health institutions of the State and, accordingly, a request was made to the Director Health Services to purchase these drug kits from the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) as per the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. After the preliminary enquiry, it was found that the Director Health Services, Jammu had issued limited NIT for purchase of medicines from CPSEs, but, most of these medicines did not fall within the ambit of 102 medicines approved for purchase from CPSEs. It was further found that, in drug kit for Asha, 4 out of 6 medicines, in drug kit for Sub Centre-A, only 1 out of 7 medicines and, in drug kit for Sub Centre-B, only 3 out of 11 medicines fell within the ambit of 102 medicines approved by the Government of India for purchase from CPSEs under Purchase Preference Policy. It was also found that the Tender Opening Committee approved rates quoted by all the bidders despite the fact that the rates quoted by the 4 bidders in respect of all the 08 drug kits were similar and the same were far too exorbitant as compared to the rates of the previous year. It was further found that the Tender opening Committee recommended to place orders to the tune of 25% to each of the CPSEs without any negotiation and without taking into account the price fixed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority which provides for a discount up to 35% and the approved rates for the previous year. It was also found that the Tender Opening Committee did not conduct any market survey or any other mode to check the genuineness of the rates quoted by the firms.
During the preliminary verification, it was also found that the Verifying Committee, without taking into consideration the terms and conditions of the supply order(s) as well as the guidelines of Government of India, failed to point out that the medicines supplied had not been manufactured by the supplying firms and the said Committee also ignored good manufacturing practice certificates of the firms which supplied the medicines to CPSEs. The enquiry revealed that M/S Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceutical Ltd had purchased ORS powder for supply from M/S Syndicate Pharma Indore which had been permanently de-registered for ORS powder by the Director General of Health Services. The enquiry also revealed that, one Anil Lohati representative of M/S Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd., had presented three cheques for payment and these cheques were drawn in favour of M/S Hindustan Antibiotic Limited and M/S Karnataka Antibiotic Limited in the bank accounts of the above-named firms. It also transpired that one Kamlesh Daga of Plastic Surge Industries Private Ltd., had played the role of a middleman in the aforesaid purchases. Thus, the enquiry conducted, prima facie, established the allegation that the Director Health Services, Jammu had purchased the drug kits during the year 2010-11 on highly exorbitant rates in total disregard of codal formalities prescribed for purchase of drug kits thereby causing huge loss to the public exchequer.

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