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CBI raids 14 places over Rs 130-cr health dept scam

CBI carried out raids at 14 places, including the residences of two top state officials, on Monday. A senior officer, supervising the raids, revealed that CBI had received a complaint about the involvement of Pradeep Kumar, an IAS officer, in the misappropriation of funds while purchasing medicines and equipment worth over Rs 130 crore.

The purchases were allegedly made during Kumar's tenure as state health secretary. Incidentally, like the fodder scam in which fodder was transported in a scooter, an order was given to a tractor agency by the health department to supply medicines worth Rs 45 crore.

Sources said 14 premises, including 13 in Jharkhand and one in Delhi, were raided by CBI's anti-corruption branch. These included Kumar's official residence at Mayor's Road in Ranchi, another house of his in New Delhi's Paschim Vihar, a room at the Circuit House here and his ancestral property in Daltonganj.

Besides Kumar's official residence in Ranchi, CBI also raided the house of state reproductive and child health (RCH) department director Vijay Narayan Singh and residences and business establishments of Shyamal Chakraverty and Dheeraj Kumar, associates of the IAS officer.

Investigating officials revealed that property worth over Rs 25 crore, documents relating to investments, fixed deposits, land records and deeds of flats were recovered. The recovery list of Pradeep Kumar alone showed fixed deposits to the tune of Rs 1 crore, three flats in Delhi, one each in Ranchi and Rajasthan and a plot in the IAS Cooperative Society.

Kumar, who was the health secretary till June, allegedly did not float tenders for buying medicines and equipment. Later, he was removed from the post. "Kumar was involved in large-scale irregularities in connivance with the state RCH director and two businessmen," said an officer.

At present, this 1991 batch officer is waiting for a fresh posting and his name also figures in the list of those accused of committing irregularities during the appointment of around 125 doctors of indigenous medicine including Ayurveda, Yunani, Sidha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).

Kumar is the second IAS officer from the Jharkhand cadre to come under the scanner of the central investigating agency within a month. For, CBI had also raided the residence of 1993 batch officer Avinash Kumar, who served as officer on special duty to former Governor Syed Sibtey Razi, on August 3. He has been placed under suspension since.

Source: TOI


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