The saga never ends. Every day there is a new scam uncovered in which the Chidambaram family is associated. The former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram promoted firm Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd. (ZHL) that was involved in the Rajasthan ambulances services scam is now found to have done used similar illegal ways of siphoning money in Odisha too. The Odisha Ambulance Services Employees Union (OASEU) alleged that more than Rs.300 crores was pilfered by the Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd (ZHL), which is now facing prosecution by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Rajasthan. The Union has submitted many vouchers of over-invoicing in wage bills and bills of fake trips of ambulances to siphon the money over a period of five years by the firm promoted by Karti.
Same formula of pilfering
Citing the complaint filed by the OASEU to the Odisha state authorities, Income Tax Commissioner S K Srivastava lodged a complaint with the CBI, the Director General (Investigation) of Income and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), urging that the agencies would probe into the matter as the agencies are already probing a “similar fraud” executed by the same firm in Rajasthan. In the Rajasthan ambulance scam, the agencies had questioned senior Congress leaders including Sachin Pilot and former Union Minister Vayalar Ravi’s son Ravi Krishna for illegalities. The Court has now taken cognizance of the charge sheet and the trial is going on in Rajasthan.
“During my stay at Bhubaneswar in connection with some official work, I was handed over a few documents collected by the officials of Odisha Ambulance Service Employees Union alleging misappropriation and pilfering of Government money to the extent of about Rs.300 crores by the Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd (ZHL) which is controlled by Karti Chidambaram who was one of its Directors and who has been along with the firm is named as accused in a FIR filed by the Rajasthan Police as well as the CBI along with others.,” said Srivastava.
The complaint pointed out that money was pilfered by inflating the wage bills, fabricating forged and fake trip records of ambulances and vouchers. Karti linked firm engaged in contracts with many state governments for providing service to the “108 Ambulance calling scheme”. In many states it was found that bills were over-invoiced and fake trips were created to collect money from the state health departments.
When Karti was caught in the Aircel-Maxis scam controversies in mid-2011, he had resigned from the Directorship of many companies including Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd (ZHL) and is now running the firms through his benamis.
“The allegations that money was being pilfered by Ziqitza Health Care Ltd and Karti Chidambaram by inflating the wage bills, fabricating forged records, bills and vouchers is a standard methodology adopted by tax evaders in labor-intensive sectors of the economy and prima-facie, the case being made out by officials of Odisha Ambulance Service Employees Union needs to be looked into as the records of the ESI, PF, etc and the paper trail indicate such fabrication,” said Income Tax Commissioner SK Srivastava in his complaint to Directors of CBI, ED and Director General of Income Tax’s Investigation Wing.
A copy of the complaint by the OASEU is shown below:
 Rajasthan: FIR against Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot in ambulance scam – Jun 10, 2014, India Today