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Business News/ News / India/  CBI to probe AAP's flagship healthcare project 'Mohalla Clinics': Report

CBI to probe AAP's flagship healthcare project 'Mohalla Clinics': Report

AAP faces crises as ED sends notices to Arvind Kejriwal in excise policy case and CBI to investigate fraud allegations against Mohalla Clinics.

A Delhi government-run mohalla clinic at Nizamuddin, in New Delhi. (PTI)Premium
A Delhi government-run mohalla clinic at Nizamuddin, in New Delhi. (PTI)

Crises loom over the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

After the ED's notifications to AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi's excise policy case, the party's flagship healthcare project has come under the Central government's scanner now.

As per media reports, CBI is set to probe Mohalla Clinics over allegations of fraud.

Delhi mohalla clinics under scrutiny for 'fake' tests

On Thursday, Delhi's Lt Governor V K Saxena, who is also a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recommended a CBI probe into alleged fake lab tests and 'ghost patients' at mohalla clinics in the national capital.

The recommendations came days after Saxena ordered a CBI probe into the alleged supply of drugs to Delhi government hospitals that had failed "quality standard tests".

Security tightened outside Kejriwal's residence amid claims of possible arrest

According to statement form LG's office, "grave" fraudulent practices have been found in the lab tests being carried out in the name of patients visiting Delhi government hospitals and mohalla clinics. The payments are going to the private labs, officials alleged.

Mohalla clinics' scam

In August last year, it was found that some doctors and staff of seven mohalla clinics in southwest, Shahdara and North-East districts resorted to "unethical practice" to fraudulently mark their attendance through pre-recorded videos, according to Delhi LG office's statement.

These mohalla clinics were in Jaffar Kalan, Ujwa, Shikarpur, Gopal Nagar, Dhansa, Jagjeet Nagar and Bihari Colony, he said.

Patients at these mohalla clinics were provided medical consultation and medicines were disbursed by unauthorised staff in the absence of doctors.

In September, action was taken against the staff and they were de-empanelled and FIRs were lodged against them.

Subsequently, a review of sample lab testing data for three months – July to September last year- retrieved from two private service providers was carried out.

"It was found that fake or non-existent mobile numbers were used for registration of patients and subsequent lab tests that were supposedly done on them, the official said. "Also, there was duplication of mobile numbers. The data has clearly revealed that fake lab tests were carried out at these mohalla clinics that need to be further inquired," the LG office said.

According to the inquiry report, there were 3,092 records of different patients with the same mobile number -- 9999999999 -- while in the case of 999 patients, their mobile numbers were repeated 15 or more times.

Similarly, 11,657 patients had the mobile number zero registered against their names while in the case of 8,251 patients, the mobile number column was left blank. As many as 400 patients had a single-digit phone number.

In the file noting on the matter, Saxena said, "While tall claims are frequently made in various forums by the GNCTD (Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi) regarding providing world class health infrastructure in Delhi, the recent finding regarding spurious drugs and now fake lab tests, bring to the fore dark realities that belie any claims on the contrary."

Tens of thousands of tests were recommended prima-facie to ‘ghost patients’, he noted in the file, while adding that practices like fake attendance of doctors and fictitious data of patients establish alleged "widespread corruption" with the sole intention to "loot" the government exchequer.

He also noted that it was done to extend undue benefits to private parties operating the mohalla clinics as well as dispensaries, polyclinics and hospitals of the Delhi government.

AAP statement

Reacting to Saxena's recommendation of a CBI probe, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said the health secretary should be held responsible for the “sub-standard medicines" being supplied in Delhi government hospitals and the alleged scam at mohalla clinics.

In September last year, the AAP government had announced the de-empanelment of 26 staffers, including seven doctors, posted at mohalla clinics for allegedly trying to manipulate the attendance system, the minister said during a press conference here.

"If there are complaints about the standard of medicines or patient records in mohalla clinics, officials are responsible for it. We have already said that action should be taken against the health secretary but nothing has been done," he said.

"Why not suspend the health secretary? What are you waiting for? These people (senior officials) have been deployed by them (LG and BJP government at Centre) only," he said.

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Published: 05 Jan 2024, 11:52 AM IST
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