Just days after Medical Education Minister Taj Mohiuddin briefed Congress President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi about surfacing of spurious drug scam in Kashmir, the minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Sham Lal Sharma Sunday claimed that he had no role in the purchase of drugs as Health Minister during his tenure (2009-2013).
“Much before my tenure, in 2008 government had decentralized the purchasing of drugs in the Health and Medical Education departments through order number 61, dated September 16, 2008. Under this order central purchase committee of both Health and Medical Education departments were wind up and four new purchase committees were formed,” Sham Lal told a local news agency, KNS.
He said that the new purchase committees consisted of Principal/Dean Government Medical College Srinagar and Jammu, Directors Health Services Kashmir and Jammu, Principal/Dean Government Dental College Srinagar, Director Indian System of Medicines J&K and other experts from GMCs, Health and Finance departments and other officers.
“The respective purchase committees were authorised to make all the purchases after verifying the criteria of the firms and other things,” he added.
Making his point the former Health Minister said, “I had no role in the purchasing. But as Health Minister I formulated new Drug Policy so that transparency will prevail and samples of drugs are sent for testing. I have been made a scapegoat.”
“Why was only I targeted? Why isn’t then Medical Education Minister and Minister of State for Health’s name in the scam? My image is being tarnished due to political reasons,” Sharma told KNS.
However, he said, that he is full faith in judiciary and the Crime Branch which is presently investigating the scam. “I am waiting for the report of High Court and the Crime Branch. Whatever the decision comes I will abide by that,” he added.
On his problems with Taj Mohiudin, Sharma said, “Nothing should be personalised. He is my colleague and a brother. We both are responsible leaders.”
Sharma claimed that some vested elements were trying to give the issue a regional and communal color. “This is unfortunate. J&K is one state and we all should work for its betterment. Same medicines have been sold in Jammu and well as Kashmir.”
He said that he has full faith on Congress high command. “I have not been called by the high command yet. But we all are accountable before the high command. Whatever decision it takes will be final. Whosoever is involved in the scam will be punished,” he told KNS.
Facing widespread criticism over the shoddy drug procurement system for government-run hospitals in the wake of surfacing of spurious drug scam, state government had recently decided to make the much-delayed State Drug Corporation functional.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is expected to convene a meeting on the opening day of Durbar Move here on Monday to set into motion the process for constituting the Drug Corporation. Taj Mohiuddin has already given a nod for placing the proposal for creation of staff for the body before the state Cabinet.