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Files go missing as Cong alleges massive corruption in Kerala health dept

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 8 (IANS) The Congress party in Kerala on Saturday alleged that the disappearance of numerous files from the Health department clearly signals that there has been a massive corruption that took place during the purchases made for tackling Covid-19.

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan told the media that purchases to the tune of Rs 1,600 crore made during the Covid pandemic time was done in violation of all normal purchase procedures.

"A PPE kit costing Rs 550 was purchased for Rs 1,600, besides there was corruption in purchase of one crore gloves. The news now is that to ensure that nothing comes out of these purchases, around 3,000 e-files and 500 paper files have been reportedly destroyed. And what we hear is that one person has been suspended and that person is now being made the scapegoat as a cover up operation to save the real culprits," said Satheesan.

He further pointed out that the entire purchase to the tune of Rs 1,600 crore has been made from the laptop of just one person.

"What has now come out is purchases have been made from companies which cannot be found out. Surprisingly companies who were in the list of vendors have been eliminated, 100 per cent advance money for purchases was given out. The situation is such that the ongoing Police probe also has reached a dead end as they are not been given details of what they have asked. It appears that there is serious attempt being made to save the 'political' leadership from this massive corruption and officials are being made scapegoats. It is now surfaced that a Minister is trying to defend someone and if it continues then we will be forced to say this is being done to save 'some'," added Satheesan.

Trying to put up a brave face in her defence, State Health Minister Veena George told the media that it's correct that some 500 files are missing from the Health department.

"It has been found out that a safe where files were kept in the Health department was found to be open and around 500 files have been reported to be missing. But all those files which have gone missing are very old files and not new or recent ones. The probe is going on," said George.

With the assembly session expected to be convened shortly, the Congress led Opposition is doing its best to get maximum details of the alleged corruption that has taken place after the pandemic struck in 2020 at a time when K.K. Shailaja was the Health Minister and eyebrows were raised when Vijayan decided not to include her in the ministry after he retained power in the April 2021 assembly polls.