NEW DELHI: Anti-corruption watchdog Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has allegedly closed a number of cases by overruling the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) recommendations to punish corrupt officials in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Voluminous documents, including CBI reports, sent by a former Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, to the President blame Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary and his predecessor Pradeep Kumar for protecting the corrupt and the connected.
Chowdary was appointed by the NDA government in June 2015 while Kumar, a UPA pick, served between July 2011 and 2014. Chaturvedi’s complaint to the President has flagged seven corruption cases. He served in the AIIMS between 2012 and 2014. The Sunday Standard has accessed the files that were sent to the President on July 15. A questionnaire sent to the CVC by this newspaper, however, did not yield any response.
In the latest case, it has been alleged that the CVC under Chowdary closed a corruption case against former AIIMS Director Dr. MC Mishra on June 16. The CBI report had indicted Prof. Mishra and Associate Professor Dr. Amit Gupta for favouring a private firm in the purchase of general items by masking them as proprietary stuff.
The CBI report filed in October 2015 said, “Dr. Amit Gupta declared Cleanex Floor Disinfectant and Aerox Fogging Solution, products of Aseptix Netherlands, as proprietary in nature in ad hoc manner without adequate care, and purchases were made in spite of existing rate contract for the main hospital. Dr. MC Mishra approved the use of the aforesaid proprietary certificate for repeated purchases by TR Mahajan, Assistant Stores Officer, without due diligence.”
The corruption case against former AIIMS Director Dr. MC Mishra was also examined by the Chief Technical Examiner’s Organisation in the CVC, which said: “No rigorous scientific study on the comparative efficacy of the two procured item and similar items listed in rate contract was carried out before procurement on a proprietary basis. The proprietary certificate issued at the time of first purchase was used repeatedly without issuing fresh PAC for procurement of these two items.”Former AIIMS Chief Vigilance Officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi has alleged that as per statutory notification under AIIMS regulation, 1999, Institute Body is disciplinary authority for Director, AIIMS.
"However, the approval of Institute Body was never taken and the case was closed by fraudulently mentioning the approval of disciplinary authority. Thus, in this case KV Chowdary has set up a very wrong precedence,” Chaturvedi wrote to the President.Another corruption case of 2012 that has been buried by the CVC is related to BS Anand, Superintending Engineer, AIIMS, and IAS officer Vineet Chawdhry, former Deputy Director of AIIMS. The CBI’s anti-corruption branch had registered a Preliminary Enquiry against the officers on January 9, 2014.
CBI’s PE said: “Vineet Chawdhry deliberately misrepresented the facts before President, AIIMS, while recommending extension of BS Anand, who was otherwise not entitled to any extension in service. It is also learned that BS Anand in collusion with Vineet Chawdhry got constructed porta cabins worth crores of rupees at AIIMS, Jhajjar, Haryana, though permanent structure could have been constructed at more or less the same cost. It is also learned that the suspect officers have purchased huge properties near AIIMS-II at Jhajjar.”
In its December 2014 probe report, CBI had recommended departmental action against Chawdhry. It could not probe into crores of rupees pumped into the temporary structure at Jhajjar as it observed that ‘no documents have been provided by the concerned department’. The CBI was informed that documents were not traceable. Although an AIIMS vigilance report had mentioned that `10 crore was spent on the temporary structure. BS Anand, who was supervising construction work worth thousands of crores, did not give any justification despite repeated reminders.
After CBI’s recommendation, the issue was put on the backburner. On July 1, 2016, the CVC decided to close the case. Its letter said, “The case has been examined in the Commission. The Commission has noted the position that the competent authority to initiate action against Vineet Chaudhry, the then Deputy Director (Administration) AIIMS, has taken a view for not initiating any formal disciplinary action against him, as the allegations against him do not get conclusively proved. Commission has allowed the matter to rest.”
Chaturvedi in his letter to the President has alleged that most scandalous part of the entire process was that the approval (to close the case) was taken from Minister of State for Health, which is much lower in the rank then the competent authority in this case—Prime Minister—as per rules of Department of Personnel and Training.
Cases Overlooked by watchdog
■ Fake Quotations, Superfluous Purchases: In 2014, a three-member team of AIIMS carried out raids in surgery department. The dubious purchase worth `67 lakh was not even used. The case was handed over to the CBI in December 2014.
The investigative agency said, “The mode and manner of bifurcation of the purchases and putting the items or quantities in a different tender, but of the same date appears to be a method to split up the purchases. This prima facie points to an anomalous financial practice.”
Two firms—HS Enterprises and Overseas Associates—were allegedly favoured by the head of surgery department. An enquiry committee was constituted by the head of surgery department although he was one of the accused. The committee gave a clean chit to all the accused without probing fake quotations and violation of laid-down norms. Chaturvedi in his letter said that he wrote to CVC KV Chowdary about the case and corruption issue in January 2017 but no action was taken.
■ Major penalty against head of the department of Endocrinology and Metabolism was watered down during CVC Pradeep Kumar’s tenure on May 28, 2014. According to vigilance manual clause 11.4, major penalty can be imposed for false claims on the government like travel allowance and reimbursement etc. However, CVC in May 2014 decided to recommend a minor penalty and further the case was put to rest in February 2015.
A corruption case of 2012 that has been buried by the CVC is related to BS Anand, Superintending Engineer, and IAS officer Vineet Chawdhry, former Deputy Director