Pankaj Kumar Pandey, a district health education officer in Prayagraj, UP was arrested by the Vigilance Department for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 35,000 from an applicant who wanted to set up a clinic on Sunday, December 15.
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A complaint was filed by Rajkumar Gupta who had applied for the registration of a polyclinic at the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) office in Prayagraj. The application was forwarded to the accused’s office who asked for a sum of Rs 70,000. Gupta registered a grievance with the vigilance department. A complaint was made by writing a letter on the Chief Minister's IGRS portal - Integrated Grievance Redressal System UP, is an integrated system for the redressal of grievances of the citizens of the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The Vigilance Department, led by SP Shailesh Yadav, found the complaint to be true in confidential investigation. They found that Pankaj Kumar Pandey was infamous for taking bribes and complaints had been registered before against him. An 11-member team was then set up to discreetly investigate the case. They set up a trap to catch him in action and discreetly taped him.
He was caught accepting a bribe of Rs 35,000 around 1.20 p.m. on Sunday, December 15, and was arrested. The case has been filed at Georgetown police. The report was also forwarded to the District Magistrate and the Chief Medical Officer.
The accused, Pankaj Kumar Pandey has denied the charges against him and alleged that the complainant was framing him. He calls the whole fiasco a conspiracy against him. He told agencies that he has taken action against several nursing homes and clinics, “He was repeatedly asking for registration in Druti Hospital, which I was denying. He (Gupta) has filed the complaint as revenge,” he alleged. He also suspects an entire gang being involved in this conspiracy.
The accused was appointed as District Health Education Officer in the CMO office a year ago with the grace of CMO. Pandey was entrusted with the registration and renovation of medical stores and nursing homes along with the ACMO Dr Tirathlal. Reputable news reports say that discussion of the closeness of these officials was common in the department.
Previously, the Superintendent of Pratappur Community Health Center, Dr. Kushwaha had taken a bribe of Rs 3000 for the selection of ASHA workers and was caught red-handed and arrested by the Vigilance department and sent to jail for 15 days.
The CMO told a reputable news website that “I do not remember anyone complaining about Pankaj Pandey and I have not taken cognizance. I am the head of the department, all maters and employees are close to me. I am not aware of what Pankaj Kumar Pandey was arrested for.”
(With Inputs from ANI)