SHILLONG, Oct 31 - The Vigilance Office of NEIGRIHMS is reportedly in possession of substantial evidence related to the alleged corruption in the Cardiology Department of the institute. The alleged corrupt practices were going on for quite some time and two separate letters were written by the staff of the Cath Department to the NEIGRIHMS Director, seeking an inquiry in this regard.
On April 30 this year, security guards nabbed a private vendor who had brought in two bags with stents and other consumables for implanting on patients. The Amrit Pharmacy is supposed to provide these items at subsidised rates.
The incident was also recorded on camera. The head of the Cardiology Department, Dr Animesh Mishra, and the private vendor were allegedly caught on camera demanding the seized items from the security guards and vigilance officers.
These were the findings of the vigilance office, which investigated the corruption case. The office submitted its enquiry report and the related evidence � the seized items, two pen drives with 157 pictures and 33 video clips, and also the statements of witnesses � to NEIGRIHMS Director Dr DM Thappa.
The witnesses, whose statements were recorded, are service engineer Harajyoti Bara, security officer Ayekpam Amarjit Singh, chief security officer Manbha Singh Kharkongor, and security guards Kitbok Mawroh and Farida Marbaniang.
The private vendor, however, refused to record her statement despite claiming the items on camera. Two of her employees, too, rushed out of the hospital, the enquiry report said.
The enquiry committee was headed by NEIGRIHMS Superintendent Prof Nor Topno, head of the Department of Forensic Medicine AJ Patwary, and Deputy Medical Superintendent of the institution, Dr KK Pandita.
Based on the findings of the enquiry committee, the Director sought advice from the vigilance division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through a letter sent on July 1 this year.
In its reply to the Director, the Union Health Ministry stated: �Since NEIGRIHMS has not referred or consulted the administrative division before taking action to seize the consumables, NEIGRIHMS is advised to take a call on the matter of seized consumables in view of the stipulations made by vigilance division.�
Earlier, Dr Thappa had alleged a larger nexus between ministry officials and politicians in running such a racket in the hospital over the years and sought an investigation.
But his request was turned down. On the other hand, several individuals condemned the Director, accusing him of bringing disrepute to the institution.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma washed his hands off the matter, stating that it is a matter for the Centre to investigate.
Meanwhile, Dr Thappa has also been asked to step down by the Union Health Ministry. �It is a classic case of shooting the messenger. Even if there is infighting or anything of that sort, this matter needs proper investigation, not whimsical boardroom decisions from far-off,� an official said.