SKIMS Buys Machinery From ‘Tainted’ Company

SRINGAR: SKIIMS, Soura, has shortlisted a ‘tainted’ company for the supply of ventilators, inside sources said on Monday. 

‘AIR LIQUIDE MEDICAL SYSTEMS’ company has the dubious distinction of being involved in one of the scandals that has surfaced in Health Department and Associated Hospitals of Government Medical College, Srinagar. 

Crime branch is investigating how the company bagged the order for ventilators from SMHS Hospital, Srinagar by submitting forged order copy from the prestigious institute of AIIMS New Delhi, sources said. 

The said company submitted order no. AIIMS S. O. No 100-34/CNC/N.A/11-12/ST dated 12.06.2011 to the purchase committee, Srinagar- CPC-1, for the supply of ventilators. 

Based on the submitted order, the CPC-1 approved the same vide order no PS/AH/MCS/M&E/115-21 dated 11.05.2012; subsequent to which a supply order was placed by SMHS Hospital vide order no PS/Act/Anes/2011/1021 -25 dated 14-05-2012.

The order was placed for the same model at the price quoted as per the submitted AIIMS order. Although the AIIMS order copy submitted by the company had a fake look and  CPC-1 was duty bound to cross check the order before issuing any fresh approval it did not bother to get the submitted orders crosschecked, as is the norm, they said. 

According to these sources, the CPC-1 hurriedly approved the rate contract and SMHS placed the order within a couple of days. Incidentally, the Medical Superintendent SMHS, who also happens to be the Member Secretary of CPC -1, which cleared the approval, placed the SMHS order.

As if it was not enough, two repeat orders were given – one each for B&J Hospital and JLNM Hospital in May 2012.  After the company supplied and installed the ventilators in the hospitals, through their local distributor, an RTI petition filed in the AIIMS revealed that there was no such order placed by the institute to the said company, they alleged. 

The submitted copy had been forged from an old order placed in the previous year and the rates were forged to almost more than double than the original order copy, KNS report said.

In light of these findings, a criminal case was filed against the said company and investigations started. In the meantime, the company had circulated the CPC-1 order copy and was in the process of bagging another repeat order from GMC, Jammu. But they soon cancelled the order. 

However, even this did not prove deterrent for the SKIIMS, Soura, which has gone ahead and shortlisted the above tainted company, for the supply of ventilators. 

It is surprising that instead of penalizing and blacklisting the manufacturer for committing a fraud and deliberately misleading the hospital, as is being done elsewhere; SKIIMS for reasons best known to them, seem to turn a blind eye to this grave blunder, and are rewarding the company, by awarding them the order. The fact is that SKIMS has put forth the proposal for approval of the purchase from the tainted company, to the purchase committee headed by Finance Secretary. 

The tampered copy of AIIMS order on which SMHS hospital order was placed, which was later repeated by JLNM, Director Health and other hospitals in the Valley – all these orders are under scanner. The said manufacturer after obtaining the order authorized the valley distributor to execute the orders on his behalf, thereby proving that both the manufacturer and the supplier were hand in gloves involved in this shabby transaction. KNS 

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