CID probe scare: fall in medical reimbursement claims by MLAs, MLCs

Claims drop from Rs 4 cr last year to Rs 60 lakh this fiscal year

There has been a steep decline in the medical expenses reimbursement claims sought by legislators from an average of Rs 4 crore per annum during previous years to Rs 60 lakh this fiscal.

The drop in claims is seen as a fallout of the fake medical expenses bill scam involving former legislators being referred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for probe.

In 2015, it had come to light that a section of legislators had misused the provisions of the unlimited medical expenses reimbursement facility by producing fake bills for non-existent diseases issued by non-existent hospitals.

The then Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Kagodu Thimmappa had referred the matter to the CID for investigation. The CID appointed an investigation officer after a delay of six months and the probe is still on. But, the probe has resulted in bringing down the quantum of claims by the sitting MLAs and MLCs, official sources said.

The first hint of the scam emerged when it was found that Sa Lingaiah, a former MLA from the Sira constituency in Tumakuru district, sought reimbursement of Rs 4.65 lakh in 2015 for the diagnosis and treatment of his ‘son’ suffering from cancer.

The Assembly secretariat staff found something amiss as the 80-year-old former legislator had mentioned that his “eight-year-old son” had succumbed to cancer.  The secretariat staff wrote to Lingaiah to submit the birth and death certificates of his “son”.

Finally, it was found that Lingaiah had no such “son” nor had he received treatment or succumbed to any disease. Similarly, preliminary investigation found that the medical bills submitted by former legislator C C Kalakoti and former minister Sudheendra Rao Kasabe were fake, official sources said. Besides, unlimited medical reimbursement, legislators in the state get  medical allowance of Rs 5,000 per month.

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