Audit detected ‘frauds’ in Darbhanga health office

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PATNA: Dr Lakhindra Prasad, who was suspended as PMCH superintendent by the state government on Tuesday for his failure to be present during the inspection of the hospital by chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Sunday, was also under scanner when he was the civil surgeon of Darbhanga as an audit of the Darbhanga civil surgeon’s office and Darbhanga district health society (DHS) for the period January 2010-October 2012 found several irregularities.

A civil surgeon happens to be the member-secretary of the DHS of the district concerned and sends proposals to the DM who is its ex-officio head.

The audit report said the DHS empanelled eight private hospitals for family planning without following proper procedure. The doctors working in three of these hospitals had connection with either DHS or DMCH, the audit report said and added the man who verified the number of persons supposedly benefited by the eight hospitals was not a competent person.

“Without advertising in newspapers, private hospitals were accredited for family planning just to give undue payment to doctors associated with DHS. An estimated Rs 3.53 lakh was clandestinely paid to just one hospital,” said the audit report.

The report also hinted at a major scam in terms of beneficiaries of the scheme. It says, “Prima facie, as many as 168 beneficiaries were castrated twice or thrice and there were 57 husbands who had two or three wives!” The auditor estimated clandestine expenditure worth Rs 3.44 lakh on such frauds.

Irregularities were also detected in appointment of ANMs in August and December 2008. Certificates of 37 ANMs were found to be bogus. The report estimated salary worth Rs 54.03 lakh was paid to them from 2008 to 2010.

The audit report also suspected clandestine payment of Rs 37.03 lakh to four NGOs selected by the DHS for holding various camps for children. Not only the payment was undue, but the report said the DHS did not produce any document to prove what kind of diseases were diagnosed and treated at these camps.

While it remained a mystery whether those camps were actually organized or not, even health cards were not distributed to supposedly beneficiary children.

The audit also detected irregular payment of Rs 14.97 lakh to an agency which was outsourced the job of establishing mobile medical unit (MMU). An MMU is supposed to provide health services to 50 patients per day, including diagnostic services to 20% of the patients. However, it was found X-ray and pathology services were not provided to patients in Keoti block. The medical officer concerned was giving false certificate to the agency concerned, the audit said.

Even Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre, where malnourished children are brought, was not spared. According to the auditor, a sum of Rs 2.12 lakh (more than required) was paid to the agency concerned. The agency allegedly did not have mandatory staff. Moreover, the agency was paid dues under those heads which were not part of MoU. The agency also showed consumption of about 600kg more rice and 1,262kg more flour. The report also detected irregular expenditure worth Rs 4.89 lakh under other heads.

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