Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd (ZHL) director, Sweta Mangal has reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking speedy resolution of what she termed was a “witch hunt” against her and her colleagues. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached properties worth Rs 11.58 crore belonging to Mangal and Ravi Krishna, Congress leader Vyalar Ravi’s son, also a director of Ziqitza, with regards to the Rajasthan ambulance scam. In 2010, ZHL (in consortium with ICET) had won the tender to operate the ‘108 Ambulance Services’ in Rajasthan.
“The investigation revealed that Ziqitza committed major irregularities during the period of commission of offence. The irregularities included: Submission of exaggerated invoices/claims regarding operation of 108 ambulance service, Submissions of claims for off road vehicles and non-maintenance of vehicles and making claims of non-operated vehicles,” the ED said in a statement. Mangal has summarily denied all allegations stating that ZHL’s bid to run an ambulance at a monthly cost of Rs 94,899 remains the lowest bid till date; one that wasn’t contested by their competitors.
In her letter to PM Modi written on May 10, Mangal claims that the allegations against her and her company have arisen due to their resistance to various demands for bribes while operating in Rajasthan. These allegations gained greater impetus because ZHL’s board had independent directors bearing allegiance to the Congress, Mangal said. “Once we started operations in Rajasthan, certain government officials (RAS officers, mid and junior officers and NHM (then NRHM) consultants in charge of 108 Ambulance service in Rajasthan) made our operations extremely difficult and made multiple demands for bribes,” Mangal has alleged in the letter.
She further alleged “bureaucrats, officers and consultants in NHM Rajasthan (and Government of Rajasthan) joined forces” once it surfaced that Ziqitza had made a written complaint against demand for bribes. Aided by several grey areas in the RFP and agreement, Mangal said that she was targetted also because Congress leaders Sachin Pilot and Karti Chidambaram had been on board as independent directors. She clarified that neither Pilot nor Chidambaram “had or have any financial interest, stake, investment, or beneficial stake either directly or indirectly at any point in ZHL”.