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Vigilance Seizes Files from KMSCL HQ in Bleaching Powder Deal Probe

The Vigilance Department is intensifying its investigation into potential corruption surrounding the procurement of bleaching powder by the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL). Key documents crucial to the case were seized from the KMSCL headquarters, marking a significant development in the ongoing probe.

During the operation, vigilance officers also conducted interviews with the General Manager and other officials involved in the bleaching powder purchase for hospitals. KMSCL, responsible for supplying drugs and equipment to public hospitals in Kerala, has come under scrutiny due to suspicions of a covert deal regarding the bleaching powder procurement, as reported earlier by Manorama.

In a recent admission of lapses, the government confirmed in the Assembly that irregularities occurred in the deal. Health Minister Veena George revealed that 97 percent of the required bleaching powder had been purchased from a company that ranked second among the firms that submitted quotations.

Adding to the controversy, fires broke out in the KMSCL storehouses where the higher-priced bleaching powder was stored. KMSCL had initially estimated a need for 13,34,682 kg of bleaching powder during the 2022-23 period and had issued a tender to procure the item. However, no companies responded to the tender.

As a result, bids were solicited for 30 percent of the requirement (4,00,400 kg) through the government agency Karunya. Two firms subsequently submitted quotations. Parkins Enterprises, based in Pathanamthitta, quoted Rs 47.08 per kg, while Lucknow-based Banke Bihari Chemicals proposed a price of Rs 47.20. Ultimately, 2,40,300 kg of bleaching powder were procured from Parkins and 1,60,100 kg from Banke Bihari.

Yet, fraudulent activities allegedly unfolded afterwards. For the remaining 9,34,282 kg needed, an order was placed for 5,64,970 kg with Banke Bihari, while a mere 20,000 kg was allocated to Parkins without the process of inviting quotations, raising concerns of impropriety in the procurement process.


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