The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) has conducted raids at over 20 government hospitals in Tamil Nadu on Friday. According to one report in The New Indian Express, an undisclosed amount of cash was seized from over 20 hospitals. In addition to searches at hospitals in districts such as Tiruvallur, Salem, Madurai, Cuddalore and Dindigul, the DVAC sleuths also conducted raids at major government hospitals in Chennai including General Hospital, Royapettah Hospital, Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital, the Stanley Medical College and Hospital, the Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children and the Egmore Children's Hospital.
According to one report in The Hindu, the raids were motivated by reports that corruption and irregularities were plaguing labour wards, diagnostic services, mortuary and other departments. One DVAC official told the newspaper, “We have come across irregularities like unauthorised absence of staff from duty in some departments. Our enquiries revealed corrupt practices in the radio diagnostic services where patients referred by doctors are forced to pay bribes. Even in the mortuary, there are allegations that the staff demanded money for releasing bodies after post-mortem is done.”
Earlier last week, raids at a government hospital in Kancheepuram helped seize Rs 45,000 in excess cash reportedly held by the staff.
According to one report in the Times of India, Arappor Iyakkam, the anti-corruption NGO, had conducted a survey of hospitals in the city last year, finding rampant corruption from admissions to mortuary facilities.
According to the newspaper, the DVAC also checked the attendance registers of lab technicians and scan operators and verified if they were physically present. One DVAC source reportedly said, “There were complaints that many technicians don’t report for duty and work at a private hospital nearby while patients at government hospitals were made to wait endlessly.”