ACB Raids Delhi-Govt Run LNJP Hospital Over ‘Sub-Standard Medical Equipment’

New Delhi: The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) on Tuesday carried out searches at the LNJP Hospital after registering an FIR in relation to the supply of allegedly substandard surgical equipment and medical consumables at half-a-dozen Delhi government hospitals.

The charges range from bandages made of ‘Chinese Plastic Wires’ instead of cotton to below-standard hand sanitiser and syringe infusions sets.

An alleged cartel of a dozen manufacturers and suppliers operating from Mansa in Punjab to Kottayam in Kerala figure in the FIR registered by the anti-graft body in the matter on January 5.

Madhur Verma, joint commissioner of police (ACB), confirmed that an ACB team had carried out searches at the LNJP Hospital. According to a senior ACB official, similar operations at five other government hospitals have been scheduled over the coming days.

These include Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial, Janakpuri Super Speciality, Guru Teg Bahadur, and Lal Bahadur Shastri hospitals. Responding to the case, the Delhi government stated that all the sub-standard items were bought from the Central government portal called GeM as per finance rules which make it mandatory that govt departments buy products from the portal.

“Only if they (such items) are not available on GeM, can they can be bought from open market through tenders. It is surprising that Central Government is allowing such vendors on its portal who are giving sub standard products… such products are being supplied not just to Delhi Government, but also other state governments and the Central Government. This should be investigated by the CBI so that it brings out the truth about GeM,” the government stated.

According to the ACB, after the Delhi government’s vigilance department filed a complaint in the matter in August last year, the ACB formed various teams to collect samples of such items from the hospitals which were then forwarded to authorised government testing labs for testing.

At the LBS Hospital, according to the ACB, cotton bandage and delux infusion sets of syringes were found “not of standard quality”; at LNJP, this was the case with rolled bandages, absorbent cotton and latex examination gloves as well as infusion sets.

Similarly, at DDU, non-sterilised bandages, absorbent cotton, disposable surgical rubber gloves, hand sanitiser and syringe infusions sets were found below standard; at Sanjay Gandhi, this was the case with cotton bandage and surgical rubber glove samples, according to the ACB. At JSS Hospital, the problem was witnessed with cotton bandage while at GTB, absorbent cotton wool and non-sterilised rolled bandage were found to be substandard, the ACB added.

During verification, the ACB stated, 13 manufacturers, suppliers and traders, of which six were based in Delhi, three in Haryana, two in Uttar Pradesh and one each in Punjab and Kerala, were alleged to be part of a cartel behind the operation with the collusion of government officials.

“This group of ‘Cartel’ supplies sub-standard surgical items at exorbitant prices, thereby threatening the lives of patients undergoing treatment/surgery even in ICUs… it is also reliably learnt that the thread which is being used for manufacturing Cotton Bandages, Rolled Bandages, Absorbent Cotton and Gauze etc. has to be an IS Certified Cotton,” the FIR stated.

“However, to the contrary…in place of Cotton Threads they are using Chinese Plastic Wires and it is not up to the mark of IS Standard…indicating illegalities and irregularities being committed,” it added.

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