Delhi Health Minister Raises Concerns Over Lack of CBI Probe into GEM Purchases

Delhi Health Minister, Saurabh Bharadwaj, questions the absence of a CBI probe into purchases from the centrally governed agency GEM, emphasizing the need for transparency in procurement processes.

Upon assuming office, Minister Bharadwaj ordered an audit of all medicines, equipment, and consumables. Despite issuing directives to Health Secretary SB Deepak Kumar on March 21, the orders remain unimplemented, leading to concerns about accountability.

Expressing dissatisfaction over non-compliance, Minister Bharadwaj highlighted the crucial role of officials' accountability to elected governments and ministers for effective administration.

The Minister's recent recommendation to the Lieutenant Governor for the dismissal of Health Secretary and DGHS has not seen action, raising questions about the responsiveness of the authorities.

Addressing the media at the Delhi Secretariat, Minister Bharadwaj disclosed that samples, including medicines and consumables, were sent for testing in July-August. Today, news channels reported that of the 43 samples, five did not meet prescribed standards, prompting questions about the selective focus of the CBI investigation on medicines alone.

Minister Bharadwaj questioned the Central Government's intentions, pointing to a dual approach in the investigation due to consumables being procured through the GEM website. He emphasized the need for a comprehensive probe covering all purchased items.

Since assuming office, Minister Bharadwaj held 40-50 meetings with health officials, sending detailed notes and directions to Health Secretary SB Deepak Kumar. Despite this, no action has been taken, and there has been no response from the Health Secretary to the Minister's letters requesting reports.

In a surprising revelation, the Minister shared that the order issued on March 21, 2023, mandating an audit of medicines, consumables, and equipment purchased in Delhi government hospitals, has not been adhered to by Health Secretary SB Deepak Kumar.

Providing insight into the procurement of medicines, Minister Bharadwaj highlighted the role of the Central Procurement Agency (CPA), where corruption allegations led to the Health Secretary's position coming under scrutiny. The Minister questioned why the Central Government has not taken action against SB Deepak Kumar despite being informed of corruption in medicine procurement.

Regarding a complaint lodged through Delhi's CM to the Lieutenant Governor on October 23, 2023, recommending the removal of Health Secretary SB Deepak Kumar and former DGHS Dr. Nutan Mundeja, Minister Bharadwaj questioned the Central Government's inaction despite his explicit recommendations.

In conclusion, Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj appealed to the Central Government to take immediate and decisive action against responsible officials. He underscored the urgent need for accountability, stating that corruption revelations demand swift dismissals from their positions.


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