Saturday, June 15, 2024

ILBS case: Kejriwal sends report to L-G, seeks suspension of Chief Secy

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday sent to Lt Governor V.K. Saxena the report against Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar recommending his immediate removal and suspension from the post for “favouring” MetaMix Technologies Pvt Ltd, where his Karan Chauhan is a founder.

According to a Delhi government source, the development comes a day after the Chief secretary was accused of awarding to MetaMix Technologies Pvt Ltd a contract for developing AI software for ILBS hospital without issuing any tender.

Apparently, Naresh Kumar is also the Chairman of the ILBS Hospital.

During the course of an inquiry by Vigilance Minister Atishi, it was further revealed that Chauhan is also the Founder or Director in a web of companies, many of which have been awarded contracts by government agencies, including in Delhi.

“The investigations in the NHAI land acquisition matter and the complex web of undisclosed commercial relationships have given rise to a reasonable suspicion that the Chief Secretary may have unduly favoured other companies associated with his son, or may have used his power and influence on other persons to accrue unlawful benefits to the companies associated with his son,” the sources said.

“One particular relationship that was unearthed in the probe was that Chauhan is the founder of a company called MetaMix Technologies Pvt. Ltd (hereafter called ‘MetaMix). This company was founded on May 10 last year by Chauhan, Anish Sarin, also promoter of Anant Raj Limited, which is also involved in the commercial relationships discovered in the NHAI land acquisition case and Saksham Harivyasi,” the source said referring to the preliminary report by the Vigilance Minister.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the partnership between MetaMix and ILBS was executed on January 25 this year, the source claimed.

Preliminary probe by Vigilance Minister revealed that, “From the examination of all existing records and relevant information in the public domain, it is apparent that the Chief Secretary, who is also the Chairman of ILBS hospital has used his position and influence to enable his son’s startup MetaMix to gain huge financial benefits, industry experience, reputational gain and other intangible benefits from a government body, whose decision-making process he directly controlled.”

“In a textbook case of nepotism, Chief Secretary influenced the resources and expertise of ILBS to be used to develop MetaMix’s technology free-of-cost, even getting ILBS to play a role in promoting and marketing the technology. All of this was achieved through signing of a MoU on a nomination basis with MetaMix… which has been modelled as an all-in-one success recipe for Naresh Kumar’s son’s startup,” the source said quoting the report.

The source further stated that while signing the MoU with MetaMix, ILBS agreed to provide unrestricted access to valuable datasets, case data and set data that are crucial for developing augmented reality models, which no other private company can access for free.

“In a textbook case of nepotism, Chief Secretary influenced the resources and expertise of ILBS to be used to develop MetaMix’s technology free-of-cost, even getting ILBS to play a role in promoting and marketing the technology. All of this was achieved through signing of a MoU on a nomination basis with MetaMix… which has been modelled as an all-in-one success recipe for Naresh Kumar’s son’s startup,” the source said.

While signing the MoU with MetaMix, ILBS agreed to provide unrestricted access to valuable datasets, case data and set data that are crucial for developing augmented reality models, which no other private company can access for free.

However, ILBS denied any payment to any vendor for the development of AI software, after allegation of giving tender to MetaMix Technologies Pvt Ltd, where Delhi Chief Secretary’s son Chauhan is a founder.

Meanwhile, dismissing the report, an ILBS statement said, “The Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) vehemently denies all media reports regarding any payment to any vendor for the development of Al software.”

It said that ILBS “confirms that it did not issue any purchase order” or made any “payment” to any Al Software developer or company.

“These allegations are totally baseless and are without merit. ILBS firmly reiterates its commitment to transparency and adherence to ethical practices in all its endeavours. Any insinuation suggesting otherwise is entirely unfounded,” the hospital said.

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