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Medicine scam culprits will not be spared: Jitan Ram Manjhi

Thursday, 4 September 2014 - 3:50pm IST | Place: Patna | Agency: PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today said stern action would be taken against those found guilty in the medicine purchase scam.
"The probe committee report has come and it has revealed a scam of around Rs 15 crore. It is being analysed further.
Those found guilty will not be spared. We'll take stern action against them," Manjhi told reporters on the sidelines of oath taking ceremony for the 10 newly elected MLAs in the recent by-polls.
Manjhi, however, evaded questions on former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who was also holding the health portfolio during the period corresponding with the scam.
"I don't know about the situation back then," he said when asked about it.
The health department had put the report of medicine scam probe committee, headed by Additional Director (Health) Dr K K Singh, in public domain yesterday.
The report indicted Bihar Medical Services Infrastructure Corporation Limited (BMSICL) Managing Director Praveen Kishore and eight other senior officials for the scam and revealed that drugs worth Rs 14.4 crore out of total Rs 60 crore purchased during January and July this year were bought at inflated prices in comparison to the rate fixed by the State Health Society Bihar (SHSB).
Making the report public, Health Minister Ramdhani Singh had said, "action against the guilty will be taken within 48 hours."
The report also said that drugs worth around Rs 20 crore had been bought from firms which were blacklisted in other states.
Apart from BMSICL MD, the government has decided to show cause eight members of the technical evaluation committee of the health department, which had screened the firms and recommended the prices suggested by them, the minister said.
These include Joint Secretary (Health) Sanjay Kumar (since posted to New Delhi), Director-in-chief (Health) Dr Surendra Kumar, Deputy Director (Industries) Om Prakash Pathak, State Drug Controller Hemant Kumar Sinha, Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) Deputy Superintendent Bimal Karak, SHSB Assistant Director Dr D K Raman, UNFPA representative Haider and BMSICL General Manager (Finance) Tripurari Kumar.

The minister said his department was also considering action against specially invited members to the purchase committee. Apart from financial irregularities, the purchased drugs were also of substandard quality. Some drugs were also misbranded with double labels. These cases came to light in July this year when two persons in different districts lost their lives allegedly due to substandard medicines administered to them at government hospitals. 

The state government cracked the whip after the opposition parties raised the issue vociferously in the state legislature and demanded CBI enquiry into the scam. The functioning of state Assembly and Council was disrupted over the issue for four days during the Monsoon session. 

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