CBI takes over Rajasthan ambulance scam probe

CBI takes over Rajasthan ambulance scam probe

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday registered a case in connection with tendering the 108 ambulance service to Ziqitza Health Care Limited (ZHL) during the previous Congress government in Rajasthan.

The case was registered at the recommendation of the current BJP government and on the basis of an FIR lodged against eight people, including former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, state Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot, former state health minister AA Khan, sons of two former Union ministers and others over irregularities in awarding and operating the 108 ambulance service.

A statement issued by the CBI said a case was registered on the request of the state government and it took over the probe of FIR No.256/2014 lodged at the Ashok Nagar Police Station. It said the FIR was registered against the then directors of the firm in Mumbai and Jaipur and others, including some public servants. Searches were also done at the offices of the said firm in Mumbai.

Ashok Gehlot accused

As per an earlier FIR in October last year at the same police station, Gehlot and Khan were accused of favouring ZHL by altering conditions of the tender for operating the 108 service in the state in 2010-11. The company was accused of using political connections to get the tender and then indulge  in financial irregularities.

The FIR named, besides Gehlot, Khan and Pilot, company stakeholders Ravi Krishna and Karti Chidambaram, sons of former Union ministers Vyalar Ravi and P Chidambaram, respectively; Shaffi Mather, a former economic advisor to Kerala CM Oommen Chandy and Sweta Mangal, a former official of ZHL, among others. While Krishna co-founded ZHL, its board of directors included Karti Chidambaram.

It was also alleged that apart from the illegal tendering, the ZHL raised bills for bogus trips. The BJP had alleged prior to the elections that the company had paid over crores for ambulances that existed only one papers. The BJP recommended the case to the CBI after coming to power in 2013.

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