Over 40,000 Fateh kits meant for Covid patients were delivered by a supplier from Ludhiana to government warehouses in Amritsar and Bathinda 140 kilometers apart at breakneck speed. The boxes were unloaded at both locations, stacked in the warehouses, and receipts were obtained. It only took 14 minutes!
State government officials have withheld payment from Covid-related supplier and accused its personnel of fabricating backdated records.
National Health Mission (NHM) had floated a tender in April last year to procure 1.5 lakh kits, which included 19 items, including medicines, a digital thermometer and an oximeter. Kits later became known as Fateh kits.
Despite the fact that four suppliers quoted the same price, the suspicions were raised that tenders had been pooled. Thus, the NHM quashed the tender and decided to procure the 19 items individually at the then existing rates.
An NHM supplier in Ludhiana agreed to supply 50,000 kits by May 9, 2021, at a price of Rs 1,195 each. A purchase order had been issued to the supplier two days earlier.
In a subsequent tender, another firm quoted a lower rate of Rs 883.50 than the government’s.
It was communicated to the Ludhiana supplier by the NHM on May 22 that the kits needed to be supplied at the price of Rs 883.50.
As a result, the “scam” was born. According to the supplier from Ludhiana, 41,500 units had been supplied
NHM fixed May 22 as the deadline for price reductions.
According to the NHM report, the supplier attempted to fleece the government by charging inflated prices to the government’s drug warehouse officials
The Ludhiana supplier, who worked alongside health officials in Bathinda and Amritsar, fudged the warehouse records. Before the government negotiated the price, he had already provided 41,500 kits.
In order to expose the scam, the GST Commissioner requested e-way bills. While the kits were billed on May 24, the government warehouses’ records indicated that they had actually been received on May 22.
Exactly 14 minutes before midnight, the Ludhiana supplier generated two e-ways bills – bill No. 234 and bill No. 235 – to show that the kits had been delivered on May 22.
In its report, the NHM states that e-way bill number 236 was generated two days after the deadline, on May 24, 2021, at 12.40 pm.
The supplier was not paid due to a mismatch in the delivery date.
There has also been a “serious lapse” on the part of the regional drug warehouse staff in acknowledging the receipt of kits in backdated fashion.