Vigilance court orders reprobe against Sooraj


Alleged graft in purchase of equipment at Beach hospital

The Kozhikode Vigilance Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge has ordered a reinvestigation against former District Collector and PWD Secretary T.O. Sooraj into alleged financial irregularities in the purchase of equipment at Government General Hospital (Beach hospital) here.

The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) had registered an FIR in 2007 against Mr. Sooraj , who was the District Collector when the purchase of equipment to the tune of ₹68 lakh was made for the World Bank-funded Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) project in Kozhikode.

The others who were named in the FIR were RCH project officer Dr. M. Vijayan; SIDCO (Kerala Small Industries Development Corporation Limited) Manager M.G. Sasidharan, and Oriental Surgicals managing partner T.M. Vasudevan.

A preliminary inquiry of the VACB then had found that the State exchequer had suffered a loss of ₹34 lakh following the purchase of the equipment. However, the VACB had removed the names of Mr. Sooraj and Dr. Vijayan, who were arraigned second and first accused respectively in the FIR, when the charge sheet was filed in the court in 2012.

Special Judge K.V. Jayakumar ordered a reinvestigation in the case after the remaining accused had moved a discharge petition seeking to quash the charges against them.

The court, while observing that the probe was not conducted in a fair and impartial manner, pointed out that the VACB had not given a clarification why both the first and second accused were let off in the case. Investigators had also failed to bring the real facts before the court, it said.

The VACB had taken up the case when allegations cropped up that global tenders were not floated for the purchase of the equipment in 2003. As per rules, global tenders have to be floated when purchases were made above ₹10 lakh. However, to circumvent that, seven tenders were floated on different occasions to purchase equipment for ₹68 lakh.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:03:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/vigilance-court-orders-reprobe-against-sooraj/article30577584.ece

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