PIL filed in Delhi HC against corruption in supply of HIV kits

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New Delhi, Aug 19 (UNI) A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against National AIDS Control Organization(NACO) seeking a CBI inquiry into high-level corruption charges in the purchase of HIV kits has been filed in the Delhi High Court.

The PIL states that the World Bank-funded project being pursued by the Indian Government is full of fraud and deception and should be mended at the inception to save many a live.

Dr Kunal Saha, a US-based doctor, who was part of the World Bank team which visited India to ascertain the authenticity of the kits has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court stating that despite their adverse report about the quality of the kits, NACO has been purchasing the same kits from the same company.

Justice G S Sistanti before whom the matter came up for hearing today said since larger public interest is involved here the matter should be heard by a Division Bench and posted the matter for August 27.

Counsel for the petitioner Mr R Venkatraman told the court that even after the allegations levelled by the World Bank of corruption in the purchase of HIV testing kits, the supply of substandard HIV kits still continues.

The petition has been filed against NACO and its director K Sujata Rao alleging that they played a dubious role to supress the allegations against use of sub-standard HIV kits during the second national AIDS control project (NACP-2) potentially causing danger of transmission of deadly AIDS virus to unsuspecting patients through contaminated blood transfusion.

Dr Saha said he was a member of the world bank team that investigated complaints against bogus HIV kits in India during NACP-2. The World bank found high-level corruption in the supply of the kits and many complaints against the product were filed by hospitals. World Bank President(India) Robert.B Zoellick said, ''We take this as an indication of fraud and corruption and had it working with the Indian Authorities.'' Dr Saha has sought a CBI inquiry into the matter stating that the company which supplies the kits is facing criminal charges in a Calcutta Court yet NACO is purchasing kits from them.

UNI SNG AKJ AS1919

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