BHUBANESWAR: A day after the Lokayukta directed the State Vigilance to make a preliminary inquiry into the alleged irregularities in purchase of masks and PPEs by the State government during the Covid-19 outbreak, Congress demanded that the ministerial and emergency procurement committees should also be brought under the purview of the investigation.
Stating that the ministerial committee and purchase committee would have approved all the purchases to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress leader Sudarsan Das, one of the petitioners, said despite involvement of the individual officers nothing would have moved without the concurrence of these two panels.
Das said that the ministerial committee to oversee the purchases comprised of Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari, Health Minister Naba Kishore Das, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Sudam Marandi, Panchayatiraj Minister Pratap Jena and Women and Child Development Minister Tukuni Sahu. Unless the decision taken by the committee is not brought under the purview of the probe, it will not be complete, he said and added that it is important to know whether the committee had cleared the purchases.
Similarly, the emergency procurement committee comprised of Principal Secretary in the Finance department Ashok Meena, Industries Secretary Hemant Sharma, MD of the Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited Yamini Sarangi and other officials, Das said and added that during the hearing the official position was that the purchases had the approval of these two committees.Das hoped that the preliminary Vigilance investigation will take all these things into consideration.
General secretary of the State BJP Prithviraj Harichandan, however, raised questions on the impartiality of the Vigilance probe. “How can the Vigilance which is part of the government be impartial,” he said and added that the truth will not come out from this probe ordered by the Lokayukta. “The Vigilance will try to protect these senior officials,” he said.