`Steps taken to bring erring officials of SCB hospital to book'

  • Special audit brings to light the embezzlement in 2003
  • Ex-hospital superintendent, six doctors among accused

    CUTTACK: Health Secretary Chinmay Basu, making a personal appearance in the High Court on Thursday, informed that steps had already been taken at the Government-level to initiate criminal proceedings against officials allegedly involved in the Rs. 2-crore user fee scam in SCB Medical College and Hospital.

    Filing an affidavit, the Secretary told the court that the hospital superintendent had been instructed to initiate criminal proceedings against erring officials and recover the amount from them. He also informed that the Finance Department was directed to take action against an Orissa Finance Service (OFS) officer Debabrata Das, a former accounts officer of the hospital.

    Fresh affidavit

    The Bench, comprising Justice B.P. Das and Justice Indrajit Mohanty, however, asked the Health Secretary to file a fresh affidavit to the court stating the detailed action taken by the Government in this matter.

    At least 12 persons, including former superintendent of the hospital Ratnakar Das and six doctors, were alleged to have swindled an amount of Rs. 2,09,79,509 from the fee collected from patients during 1995-2001. The embezzlement was pointed out by a special audit of the Finance Department in 2003.

    Court directive

    Adjudicating on a PIL in the matter, the court had last month directed the Health Secretary to take "appropriate disciplinary action as well as set the criminal law into motion against erring officials." The Health Secretary was also asked to personally appear before the court and file an affidavit stating what action had been taken to recover the money from the accused officials as it was alleged that no action had been taken in the matter though the irregularities were unearthed four years ago.

    The special audit had pointed out that the erring officials had spent huge amounts from user fee in frivolous manner. Alleging that neither the hospital authorities nor the government had taken any action against the accused persons, one K.C. Rout of Cuttack district moved the court through a PIL.