Skeletons tumble out during Minister's surprise visit
Following complaints of gross administrative negligence and dereliction of duty by Director of Medical Education A.R. Aruna and her staff, Medical Education Minister S.A. Ramdas on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to the directorate office.
During the visit, the Minister found that the Director had not signed the attendance register since 2008. She had purchased medical equipment worth lakhs and six hi-tech ambulances without permission from the Government. Aghast at the gross negligence and holding her responsible for all the irregularities, the Minister directed her to go on leave with immediate effect.
Mr. Ramdas, who scrutinised the attendance record, found that 10 employees were absent while second division clerk V. Lokesh had signed in advance for Wednesday. Later, briefing presspersons, the Minister said an inquiry had been ordered against them.
A detailed probe into all irregularities would be conducted by retired district and sessions judge N. Narayan.
“Mr. Narayan has been asked to submit his report within a month, based on which administrative reforms would be brought about in the directorate. We will seek his advice on motivating the staff and increasing their productivity,” he said.
At the directorate, while Chief Accounts Officer B.R. Srinivas was absent, another member of the staff, Venkatalakamma, was found to be absent for half a day without applying for leave. Another man, Mani, had abstained from duty from August 19 to 23 without submitting any leave application. Although the Director had issued orders for biometric system to be installed in all hospitals and colleges run by the department, she had not implemented the same in her office, he said.
The Minister said the Director had not implemented the cadre and recruitment rules in her office for the last four years and had not framed any work allocation rules for administrative matters.
“In her capacity as the Chairperson of the Government Nursing and Paramedical Board, Ms. Aruna has indulged in various corrupt practices. She has done nothing to recover the penalty of Rs. 2.5 lakh slapped on 78 in-service doctors who had surrendered their government quota seats in State medical colleges after they obtained seats in colleges outside Karnataka. The stipend of Rs. 29.4 lakh paid to these candidates is also yet to be recovered. Besides there are no records to show any of these accounts,” Mr. Ramdas said.
It was also found that the official had purchased equipment for the medical colleges without any indent or requirement. “An advanced model of a blood component extractor bought for Rs. 55.53 lakh in 2009 has been lying unused and licence from the Drugs Controller had not been obtained for it. High-tech ambulances costing Rs. 35 lakh have been purchased without government permission,” he said and added she was responsible for all the irregularities.