Delhi High Court issues notice to Health Minister JP Nadda on PIL seeking CBI inquiry

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to Union Health naddaMinister JP Nadda on a PIL seeking CBI inquiry into various cases of alleged irregularities and corruption in AIIMS raised by then Chief Vigilance Officer SanjivChaturvedi.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw also issued notice to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) and Chaturvedi, seeking their response within four weeks.

The court has fixed April 22 as the next date of hearing in the matter. The court notices were issued on a petition filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking a revival of all cases in which action were initiated by Chaturvedi before he was sacked by then Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in August last year from his post as Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS.

The plea contended that Chaturvedi started initiating action in corruption cases related to various malpractices including “supply of dubious medicines by a private chemist shop, having influential political nexus, role of middlemen in making fake out-patient department (OPD) cards”.

The PIL filed by advocate PrashantBhushan, also a member of the AamAadmi Party (AAP), asked Nadda to recuse himself from all cases and from acting as a disciplinary authority, alleging that he had “unfettered powers to influence the course of proceedings in all the corruption cases”.

The PIL alleged that “in many cases, probe has been slowed down”, relating to serious irregularities including “wastage in purchase of surgery equipment and other medical items, use of fake propriety certificates in purchases, irregularities in recruitment, in computerisation work, breach of confidentiality in exam process, unauthorised foreign visit of senior faculty members in violation of MCI regulations”.

Any type of corruption in such a premier institute is likely to have a direct and severe bearing on health and well-being of thousands of patients visiting the institute, the plea said.

Earlier this month, Delhi Chief Minister ArvindKejriwal had written to the central government asking it to relieve Chaturvedi, who is now the deputy secretary at AIIMS, seeking his services in CM’s office as Officer on Special Duty (OSD).

In his two-year stint as anti-graft officer at AIIMS, Chaturvedi had successfully completed over 150 investigations in which officials were charged and penalised, the plea said. He was conducting probe in several other corruption cases when he was moved out on the orders of the health minister, it said.

Last year, the AAP along with more than 200 AIIMS faculty members, researchers and scientists had written to Prime Minister NarendraModi, demanding that Chaturvedi, be reinstated as the chief vigilance officer at the institute.

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