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Delhi Vigilance Directorate issues notice to health minister’s OSD over irregularities

The Delhi government’s Vigilance Directorate on Monday issued a show cause notice to the health minister’s OSD RN Das in connection with alleged irregularities in procurement of various items like personal protective equipment kits, gloves, masks and RAT kits worth around ₹60 crore during Covid pandemic in 2021, officials said.

Das was OSD to then health minister Satyendar Jain during Covid, said the show cause notice. He later held the post of OSD of health minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, after Jain resigned in 2023, it said.

The A led Delhi government in a statement said, “The laughable allegations borne out of desperation pertain to the time period when Das was neither OSD of Saurabh Bharadwaj nor Satyendra Jain. Neither was he recommended by the then minister.”

The A government also alleged in the statement that in past one year, the office of LG has made “all out efforts to render the offices of elected ministers as ineffective”.

No immediate reaction was available from the LG office over allegations of the A government.

Official sources claimed that Das took charge of OSD to the health minister on March 14, 2023 and he did not hold the post during Jain’s tenure.

“Das was medical superintendent as well as incharge of Delhi Arogya Kosh at that time. His job was to look into technical specifications of the items being procured rather than deciding which firms were awarded the tenders,” sources claimed.

The vigilance notice alleged a “conspiracy” was hatched in the backdrop of Covid crisis and it was used as a reason and basis to “swindle crores of rupees” from public exchequer.

“Health department officials have used the context of Covid for enriching these private companies and intentionally allowed cartelization among the companies,” said the notice pointing Das chaired three committees for procurement of single use gloves, sterilised gloves and N-95 masks.

“The Technical Evaluation Committee chaired by RN Das extended undue favour by qualifying a firm in absence of such certificates for net worth, experience and proving that it is a manufacturer of gloves,” said the show cause notice.

Citing procurement of rapid antigen test kits, the notice claimed the rate of kits was quoted as ₹459.20 per unit which was ₹9.20 higher than the initial unit price.

“It is observed that the rate of RAT Kit progressively declined every month so much so that within a span of six months, the RAT Kit was available at a rate of ₹31.50 per unit,” said the notice.

Das was directed by the vigilance directorate to submit his explanation within seven days of receiving the show cause notice, failing which it will be presumed that he has nothing to say and the matter will be processed without any further notice as per extant rules.

The A government statement alleged that a “consistent witch hunt” was launched against the officers working at the offices of the ministers.

“Almost all the secretaries, OSDs of ministers are being attacked and threatened with multiple enquiries in to matters which are old and much before their tenures as secretaries and OSDs. Though, LG secretariat is overflowing with officers and staff, but staff is being removed from offices of ministers. This shows the desperation of the LG,” it charged.

The people of Delhi are watching how the BJP is “conspiring” against them through the LG office, it alleged. PTI

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