Governor asks Mamata to institute judicial probe into COVID rip-off

Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 4

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has taken robust exception to the three-member authorities committee arrange by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for probing the alleged Rs 2,000 crore rip-off within the buy of apparatus for holding COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister, the Governor mentioned the committee was “a sham and an eyewash”.

The letter, accessed by The Tribune, urged the Chief Minister to institute a judicial probe into the matter.

Following allegations of widespread corruption within the buy, a three-member committee consisting of extra chief secretary (dwelling), extra chief secretary (finance) and secretary (well being) was constituted by the Chief Minister to look into the fees.

In his letter, Dhankhar wrote that the acquisition, which included three million PPEs, 3.5 million N-95 masks and 4 million gloves, amongst different issues, was carried out by well being division after guidelines relating to such purchases have been relaxed by the chief secretary by an order.

“It defies reason as to how decision-makers of such tainted purchased of thousands of crores of rupees could themselves be on judgemental mode”, Dhankhar wrote including that “in view of the obvious conflict of interest, the present investigation (by the three-member committee) would lack any credence”.

The Governor wrote that it was the duty of the federal government to get to the foundation of the alleged rip-off and produce the responsible to e-book by exposing the community of “favouritism and patronage”.

The Chief Minister should vindicate her avowed dedication to “transparency and accountability in governance” and order a time-bound judicial inquiry into the rip-off, Dhankhar wrote to Mamata.

The concern is probably going to offer the opposition fodder for attacking the federal government when a two-day session of the state meeting begins its sitting right here on September 9.

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