Health Minister Banna Gupta rubbishes Saryu Rai’s allegations over Covid incentive scam

Ranchi: Two days after MLA Saryu Rai leveled allegations of corruption against state health minister Banna Gupta the minister on Friday denied the charges.

Addressing a press conference here the Minister said that Saryu Rai has claimed the estimated amount of withdrawal running into crores which is absolutely misleading and false and dared him that if his information is true, he should give evidence as to from which bank and how much amount was transferred. Banna Gupta further said that on February 16, he had a correspondence with the department and had asked regarding the criteria for giving incentives.

In response to this, the department on February 23 informed him that an incentive amount of Rs 16.59 lakh has been assessed for the people associated with the ministerial cell. But till now no payment has been made. He claimed that Saryu Rai has made a misleading allegation against him by terming the word assessment as withdrawal of crores he said.

Saryu Rai had on April 13 written a letter to Chief Minister Hemant Soren informing him about the financial irregularities done by the health minister. He had said that the health minister in the financial year 2021-22 took an incentive planned for those who played their role in the war against the corona pandemic.

He had alleged that as many as 60 people in the health minister’s cell including his 32 bodyguards got the incentive on the recommendation of the health minister and the amount involved in the scam is in the tune of crores.

The health minister, however, said that he led a public life, and as soon as he came to know about the dispute regarding the incentive amount he directed the department not to pay the amount to the ministerial cell staff.

Gupta further clarified that a three-member committee had recommended payment of incentives to 94 workers working in the health department apart from the minister’s cell staff. Out of this, Rs 37 lakh has been paid to 93 workers so far.

The minister further said that the total estimated expenditure of Rs 103 crore for the entire state has been assessed by the departmental resolution (1-5-2021) but has not been spent so far. He also leveled counter-allegations against Rai raising various local issues and cases pending against him in the high court.

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