Following last month's ambulance scam in Saran district, constituency of BJP national spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy, another ambulance scam surfaced in neighbouring Siwan district, home of health minister Mangal Pandey, 140 km from the state capital. 21 ambulances were purchased under Chief Minister's Area Development Fund.
Seven ambulances, whose market price is Rs 7 lakh each, were purchased for Rs 21.84 lakh each from Indrashan Trading company of Siwan, which claims to be a dealer in "bathroom fittings."
Following complaints from former minister and senior JDU leader Bikram Kunwar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into the irregularities. Siwan DM Amit Kumar Pandey constituted a three-member inquiry committee to investigate the scam.
The district administration purchased ambulances from the bathroom fittings company, according to documents submitted to the chief minister by Kunwar. Copies of these documents are with the Free Press Journal too.
All Maruti vehicles converted into air-conditioned ambulances are lying idle in the Government Ayurvedic College hospital grounds at Siwan and Hasanpur primary health centres. On Tuesday, district civil surgeon claimed the ambulances were lying idle as drivers were not available. Saran ambulances were lying idle in the premises of a skill development centre at Amnour.
These ambulances were purchased on the recommendations of Ramesh Kumar Kuswaha, Vyasdev Prasad and Tunna Ji Pandey, all ruling NDA legislators. Names and photogtraphs of the elected leaders are displayed on the ambulances.
The three members official purchase committee of Siwan consisting of the civil surgeon, deputy development commissioner and district programme officer violated the instructions of the chief minister by making purchases without inviting tenders through the Government E market (GEM) portal. Manish Kumar Verma, secretary to chief minister had given direction to the DMs to make purchases of ambulance through GEM portal only.