ECHS scam: HC seeks status report from state govt, Centre : The Tribune India

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ECHS scam: HC seeks status report from state govt, Centre

ECHS scam: HC seeks status report from state govt, Centre

Punjab and Haryana High Court. File photo



Tribune News Service

PK Jaiswar

Amritsar, February 3

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has sought status report from the state and the Central governments regarding the alleged Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) scam that rocked the holy city in the end of 2020.

Two FIRs were registered in Amritsar and Pathankot where a number of doctors and ex-servicemen were booked for bungling huge government funds by claiming fake medical bills.

The Union Ministry of Defence had later disempanelled seven private hospitals and a laboratory in June 2021 for their alleged involvement in the scam.

The High Court passed the order following a writ petition by Gurmeet Singh Bablu, RTI activist and president of the Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Youth Front. The court has fixed March 6 as the next date of hearing.

The court has asked the Punjab Government, ADGP (security), Amritsar Police Commissioner, SHO, Cantonment police station, Secretary, Union Ministry of Defence, and Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs, to submit the status report.

The case

In October 2020, the Cantonment police had booked 24 doctors, including owners, managing directors and doctors of six private hospitals, following a 204-page inquiry report by Brig MD Upadhyay, Station Commander, Station Headquarters, Amritsar Cantonment. In his complaint to the police, he had alleged that hospitals had made false admissions with an intention of fraud with cardholders “without providing them the services that are as per the files of the hospitals”. The cardholders were also kept in the hospitals “for a few days” even when the records suggest they stayed longer. An Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP)-rank officer was deputed to probe the case. However, several doctors were given a clean chit during the probe. In December, the Pathankot police had registered a similar case against a doctor and the owner of a private hospital.

Bablu had alleged that police did not involve the Army authorities in the probe and gave a clean chit to doctors. He had also alleged that he was receiving death threats from foreign numbers for pursuing the case and had demanded security for his family.

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