CBI has joined ED in the list of mounting troubles for AAP and Arvind Kejriwal.
New Delhi LG, VK Saxena on Thursday recommended a probe by the CBI into the investigations of alleged fake pathology and radiology tests in the mohalla clinics in the national capital under the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
“It is indicative of a scam running in hundreds of crores (of rupees). Saxena had issued these directions while clearing a file pertaining to the extension of lab testing services to private parties for patients visiting mohalla clinics and Delhi government hospitals in December 2022,” an official said.
It is alleged that “lakhs of tests” were done on ghost patients to help private labs in the city. According to sources in the Lieutenant Governor’s office, payments were made to private labs under the guise of fake tests, indicating an alleged scam “running into hundreds of crores at the expense of the poorest residents in Delhi”.
Sources from the Lieutenant Governor’s office also alleged that unauthorised/non-medical staff prescribed tests and medicines to patients in the absence of doctors, who had been marking attendance through pre-recorded videos.
The report from the health department, submitted to the Lieutenant Governor, also mentioned that fake mobile numbers were used for the registration of patients and lab tests that were supposedly conducted on them.
Additionally, there was duplication of mobile numbers. The accessed data revealed that fake lab tests were carried out at these mohalla clinics, sources said. They added that the Lieutenant Governor ordered a CBI probe after “grave fraudulent practices” were discovered in mohalla clinics.
Sources within the Delhi government have indicated that they have taken note of the CBI enquiry recommended by the Lieutenant Governor. The government is likely to recommend the suspension of the Delhi Health Secretary.
Reacting to the development, Delhi BJP leader Harish Khurana said, “After a fake medicine scam, now another scam of fake lab tests at mohalla clinics has surfaced. AAP leaders are embroiled in corruption in all the departments of Delhi government. It is highly condemnable that AAP leaders are playing with the lives of poor residents of Delhi.”
“I demand Arvind Kejriwal to break his silence and sack Saurabh Bhardwaj because this cannot be tolerated at any cost,” he added.
The Mohalla Clinic Scam which invited CBI probe
The Mohalla Clinics, central to the AAP’s welfare model, allegedly ordered and ran lakhs of “fake” pathology and radiology tests on non-existent patients, sources have claimed. The alleged scam runs into hundreds of crores of rupees, sources said.
According to sources, the Mohalla Clinics – which provide primary health care services to the people of Delhi – reportedly ordered lakhs of fake pathology and radiology tests on “ghost” patients. According to officials, “grave” fraudulent practices were prevalent in the lab tests being done in the name of patients visiting Delhi government hospitals and Mohalla Clinics with payments being made to private labs.
“Fake and non-existent mobile numbers were used to register the patients,” the office of the Delhi Lt Governor said. Phone numbers were also duplicated, the sources said, adding that payments were made to private labs referred to by the Mohalla Clinics, the sources said.
The Delhi government’s Vigilance and Health Departments investigated the lab tests that were outsourced to private diagnostic centres. Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has asked the CBI, to probe the allegations of corruption against Mohalla Clinics run by the AAP in Delhi.
AAP’s reply to the mounted CBI trouble
The AAP defended its welfare scheme and demanded the Delhi health secretary be sacked over several issues. Addressing a press conference, Delhi Health Minister and AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said his government had last year de-empanelled several doctors and staffers at Mohalla Clinics over wrongdoings.
“The Mohalla Clinic is an individual entity and not a massive set-up. We brought in a video application system to record the attendance of the staff. Now some disgraceful doctors took advantage of this. We fired 26 people – seven doctors and their staff who helped them,” Mr Bharadwaj said.
BJP’s thunderous allegations
BJP came down heavily on the Aam Aadmi Party’s government for an alleged scam in Mohalla Clinics in Delhi. Briefing the media in New Delhi, BJP Spokesperson Dr. Sudhanshu Trivedi said, Mohalla Clinics provided the facility of pathological testing and based on the vigilance reports and departmental findings, those pathological tests are also now under the scanner of the probe. He said, the pathological tests were done by private agencies and it was found that tests were conducted on ghost patients.