Bihar Leader of Opposition, Tejashwi Yadav, today said that the media expose alleging fake entries for Covid-19 tests to meet targets followed a pattern of data fudging that has over the years siphoned huge funds from the state. Not mincing words, he held Chief Minister Nitish Kumar answerable for this “scam”.
He alleged that Mr Kumar and “his team of corruptionists” had been at it for the past 15 years.
Corruption-in-chief and his team of corruptionists have been playing this game for last 15 years and have ruined Bihar. By fudging data, they have siphoned off billions of a poor state like Bihar. More than 62 scams have been identified in Nitish Ji’s rule.
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) February 11, 2021
“An investigation…of 885 entries for Covid tests in January from six PHCs in Jamui, Sheikhpura and Patna has found that this is just one of the several ways in which mobile numbers – a key tool to track and verify those tested – were allegedly misrepresented in a scramble to meet testing targets. And, in some cases, upload fake data to siphon off profits from unused testing kits,” The Indian Express reported today.
The state government has asked the Chief Secretary to probe the allegations made in the news report. “An inquiry has been ordered to verify the facts and nobody will be spared if found guilty of wrongdoing,” state Health Minister Mangal Pandey told NDTV.
Posting a link to the article, Mr Yadav tweeted that the Chief Minister must reply to the allegation. Speaking in the state assembly a few months ago, the former Deputy Chief Minister had warned the Nitish Kumar government of a possible “antigen scam” and sought the formation of a committee to probe.
His party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), has now said it will raise the issue in Parliament.
“Bihar had the worst testing statistics we repeatedly requested CM to ramp it up, he responded by transferring 3 health secretaries (who didn’t fudge data) & ultimately faking the numbers through his trusted Babu’s to mint money. CM must reply on this scam,” he said in another tweet.
While Bihar reported zero new cases today, up to 2,61,568 residents of the state have so far tested positive for coronavirus, of which 1,512 have died till now. Close to 700 remain hospitalised, according to the latest state government data.