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ED Summons BMC Chief in Alleged COVID Centre Scam

ED inquiry is further to an FIR registered by the Mumbai police in the case

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has called BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal and other officials on Monday, for questioning in connection with alleged illegal contracts awarded to certain firms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ED notices have been served based on the criminal case being investigated by the Mumbai police about the contracts awarded to Lifeline Hospital Management Services (LHMS). The police have been investigating in response to BJP leader Kirit Somaiya’s complaint that, due to the contract, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) suffered a loss of Rs 38 crore.

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The firm had no experience in providing healthcare facilities or medical services and got the contract based on forged documents, including its partnership deed, he has alleged.

In August last year, an FIR was registered against four partners of LHMS, including Sujit Mukund Patkar, Dr. Hemant Ramsharan Gupta, Sanjay Madanlal Shah, and Raju Nandkumar Salunkhe, at the Azad Maidan police station. In October 2022, the investigation of the case was transferred to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). The LHMS was contracted by BMC to provide services in Jumbo Covid Centres, located at Dahisar and Worli.

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ED sources said that Chahal might have been called for clarification since an FIR has been registered by the Mumbai police in this case. When contacted, Chahal maintained that he had no idea about the development.

Somaiya had earlier alleged that the pre-bid meeting for the 100-bed Jumbo facility at Dahisar was convened on June 25, 2020, and the expression of interest for the same was called on June 27, 2020.

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The LHMS was set up on June 26, 2020, a day after the expression of interest was invited. He had also alleged that the scam was committed at the behest of Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, who was heading the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi Government at that time.

Chahal is credited with handling the COVID-19 pandemic with precision by interacting with the public, municipal officials, and employees from time to time to tide over the galloping figures of COVID positives. 

A huge and important work carried out by the BMC under his leadership to save the lives of people also found mention in the Supreme Court during the hearing of a COVID-related petition at that time. In fact, the SC had suggested that other civic corporations take guidance from the BMC in controlling containment zones.

Also Read: With Growing COVID-19 Cases, BMC Chief Asks Officials to Ramp Up Test Facilities

Author

  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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