Rajasthan seeks CBI probe into ambulance scam

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Jaipur, Oct 21: The Rajasthan government on Tuesday sent an official letter to the Centre seeking a CBI probe into the alleged ambulance scam in which senior Congress leaders, including former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and state party chief Sachin Pilot, have been named.

"A letter was today (Tuesday) sent to the union government requesting for a CBI probe. We expect the Central Bureau of Investigation to start a probe into the ambulance scam in the next 10-15 days," a state home department official told IANS.

Meanwhile, a war of words broke out between the Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the issue.

"The government is being politically vindictive," a Congress leader said.

"There is pressure from the state government on police in this matter. I believe the truth will soon come out. I also believe he who makes mistakes must be punished," Gehlot said.

State Health Minister Rajendra Rathore said the Congress "should not complain or have any problem with a CBI inquiry. They should rather welcome it".

A first information report (FIR) was filed June 10 against Gehlot, Pilot and six others at the Ashok Nagar police station here over allegations of a scam in the running of the '108' ambulance service.

Police conducted an inquiry following former Jaipur Municipal Corporation mayor Pankaj Joshi's complaint of July 2013 and decided to register a case against Gehlot, Pilot, former state health minister A.A. Khan, former union finance minister P. Chidambaram's son Karti P. Chidambaram, former union minister Vayalar Ravi's son Ravi Krishna on charges of cheating and dishonesty, forgery of valuable security and criminal conspiracy among others.

Joshi had alleged financial irregularities in operating the '108' ambulance service during the previous Congress regime.

The 108 ambulance service is part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and is a public-private partnership to ensure help for emergency patients.

He alleged that due to its strong political connections, private firm Ziqitza Health Care was hired to run the ambulance service in the state in a non-transparent manner and was overpaid during the period 2010-11.

The BJP has always alleged that Ziqitza Health Care was co-founded by Ravi Krishna while Karti Chidambaram is a member of its board of directors.

IANS

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