Ex-minister refunds 'excess' medical reimbursement

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Mumbai, Jan 9 (UNI) The Bombay High Court was today informed that former minister Padamsinh Patil has refunded over Rs 167,000 even as proceedings have been initiated against two other MLAs for recovery of ''excess'' amounts that had been claimed as medical reimbursements.

Advocate General Ravi Kadam today informed a division bench comprising Justices J N Patel and Nishita Mhatre that Mr Patil has already refunded over Rs 167,000 in accordance with the order of the high powered Committee of the Legislature.

The Committee has further recomended that proceedings of recovery be initiated against congress MLA Ramesh Viththal Chaudhari and some other MLA he added.

The Maharashtra Legislature had set up a high powered committee after the High Court found certain medical bills reimbursed to at least four MLAs including Mr Patil, Ramesh Chaudhari, Sahebrao Tatte and Dr N P Hirani prima facie doubtful. Thereafter, the Legislature set up the high powered committee to scrutinise records of medical bills reimbursed during the last three years.

Presently, bills of over Rs one lakh have been taken up for scrutiny and the committee has scrutinised 52 cases, out of which 21 have been found to be clear, the Advocate General informed the court and also assured that recovery would be made from erring members.

Janhit Manch, a Mumbai-based NGO had filed a public interest litigation raising the issue of arbitrary reimbursements of lakhs of rupees being made to sitting and former members of Legislature and toward medical treatment availed by them and their family members.

Mr Bhagvanji Rahiyani of the petitioner organisation had said lakhs of rupees were paid to the members of Legislature without proper scrutiny of record and also without required documents.

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