In what presents a deplorable state of affairs at country’s premier medical institute, AIIMS, a parliamentary panel has highlighted gross financial irregularities and rampant corruption in recruitment of medical staff at the hospital in recent years. While holding the central government responsible for the mess, the panel has recommended restoring the post of Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) that has been lying vacant since the transfer of Sanjeev Chaturvedi.Non-serious approach The committee has strongly deprecated the non-serious approach of the Union health ministry in tackling a large number of corruption cases at the AIIMS since 2011. It said the Centre was non-serious in its approach towards tackling corruption. The department-related Parliamentary Committee on Health and Family Welfare has also asked the ministry to play a proactive role in ensuring expeditious investigation into all corruption cases at AIIMS, New Delhi and produce an up-to-date status note within three months.”The committee is perturbed to note that despite unravelling of corruption cases at AIIMS at regular intervals, the ministry has done away with the regular Chief Vigilance Officer’s post at AIIMS and the role of the anti-graft officer at AIIMS has been assigned to a joint secretary and CVO in the health ministry. Evidently, the ministry appears to be non-serious in tackling corruption at AIIMS,” the committee noted.”The committee therefore strongly deprecates the non-serious approach of the ministry towards tackling such a large number of cases of corruption at AIIMS and recommends that the ministry should quickly move towards appointing a regular CVO of unblemished credentials at AIIMS,” the committee, chaired by Satish Chandra Misra, said.advertisementIt pointed out gross irregularities involving senior officials and doctors at the AIIMS. These include financial irregularities, disproportionate asset cases, financial irregularities in purchase of medicines, tampering with selection list of technicians and appointment of officials under sports quota among others. It also said that the CVO is the only instrument available with the ministry to monitor statutory compliance of various prescribed procedures and norms.Whistleblower Indian Forest Officer Chaturvedi came in the spotlight after being removed from the post of the CVO last year for allegedly exposing corruption at the prestigious institute. He was recently named as one of the winners of Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2015. “The committee also recommends the ministry to play a proactive role in ensuring expeditious investigation into all the corruption cases at AIIMS and furnish within three months from the date of presentation of this report……an up-todate status note detailing therein various stages of cases of investigation, involving corrupt practices and embezzlement of funds and steps taken to check occurrence of such cases in the future,” the committee said.The panel observed that several officials of AIIMS were also under scanner for their alleged involvement in procurement of computers and peripherals, alleged financial irregularities in purchase of surgical gloves and medicines, construction of engineering works without approval of the statutory bodies, alleged tampering with selection list of operation theatre assistants, massive irregular payment to contractors, irregularities in awarding work for development of ward and allied spaces for department of pulmonary medicine and others.