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PPE kits scam: Kerala Lok Ayukta orders probe against ex-health minister

The Lok Ayukta has issued notices on Friday to Shailaja and Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) general manager Dr. Dileep. They have been asked to reply to the notice within one month.

Statesman News Service | Thiruvananthapuram |

The Kerala Lok Ayukta has ordered an inquiry against former state health minister KK Shailaja over a complaint that corruption was involved in the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lok Ayukta has issued notices on Friday to Shailaja and Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) general manager Dr. Dileep. They have been asked to reply to the notice within one month. The inquiry was ordered after the Lok Ayukta conducted a preliminary inquiry in the matter.

The order for inquiry was prompted by a complaint lodged by Youth Congress leader Veena S Nair against the former state health minister, former Health Secretary Dr Rajan N Khobragade, former MD of Medical Services Corporation Balamurali, former general manager of Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) Dr. Dileep, and seven others.

In her complaint, Veena alleged that PPE kits were purchased by the KMSCL at an exorbitant rate during Covid-19 pandemic period.  She alleged that the PPE kit, which was available at the rate of Rs 450, was bought by KMSCL from another company at the rate of Rs 1,550 per kit. KMSCL placed the order with Maharashtra based San Pharma company.

Earlier during Nipah, the PPE kit was supplied at the rate of Rs.550 per kit by a company called Keron. According to the complaint, despite the company informing that it would provide PPE kit during the Covid period at the same price, KMSCL deliberately did not give the contract to Keron and gave it to San Pharma at the rate of Rs.1,550 per kit.

Shailaja was widely lauded for her efforts to curb the COVID menace. Her deft handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Kerala in the initial stages, led to the state being lauded as a benchmark for effective pandemic management.