Siddaramaiah alleges corruption of Rs 2,200 crore on govt’s purchase of Covid-19 equipment

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister and current leader of opposition in the Karnataka assembly Siddaramaiah on Friday alleged that there was a Rs 2,200 crore scam in the purchase of Covid-19 related equipment — including PPE kits, ventilators, masks, scrubs, oxygen cylinders, hand sanitizers and other essentials.

“Prima facie it appears that the government has paid more than two-three times the market prices for the procurement of equipment used to treat Covid-19 patients. The government till now has made purchases worth more than Rs 3,000 crore and it looks like nearly Rs 2,200 crore might be involved in misappropriation,” he said.

Siddaramaiah demanded that the government release a whitepaper on all expenditure incurred. He also cited various prices which he claimed the government had overpaid for, including ventilators which cost Rs 4 lakh and had been purchased at Rs 12 lakh, a PPE kit which costs Rs 995 but had been brought at triple the price, surgical gloves costing Rs 200 at Rs 400 per piece. He said that there has been massive corruption in the purchase of Covid-19 related equipment.

He also claimed that lack of coordination between various ministers has led to the government’s mismanagement of the Covid-19 situation leading to a spike in the number of cases in the state. However, Medical Education minister Dr K Sudhakar refuted Siddaramaiah’s charges.

“There is perfect coordination amongst all of us in the government and we are working under the leadership of CM Yediyurappa to combat the tough situation. It is unbecoming of a former CM to allege corruption in procurement of essential equipment to treat people. All procurement has been done in a transparent manner,” the minister said. 

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