Pravin Mundhada

Ranjit Mahanti

In a shocking move, THE Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Maharashtra has rewarded its own corrupt officer, Pravin Mundhada with a promotion. A Right To Information (RTI) reply revealed that Mundhada who is currently facing two departmental enquiries (DE) and once was suspended has now been promoted as in-charge assistant commissioner of zone – 4, Mumbai from drug inspector.

On August 12, 2014, Dr. Ved Tiwari, vice president, Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS) had demanded information through RTI in FDA head office, Bandra about Mundhada’s past service record. On September 9, 2014 FDA replied (copy available with ABI) to Tiwari with the above information which is shocking for all.

According to documents, there are two departmental inquiries pending against Mundhada. On July 17, 2007 Baba Ram Dev’s agency holder Ravikumar Rana had complained (copy available with ABI) against Mundhada. As per complaint Mundhada has twice taken Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 40,000, as a bribe from Rana for not taking action on his agency of Yog Sadhana Seva Samiti, Mumbai. Mundhada had unnecessarily initiated inquiry against Ramdev’s product Divya Yaunamrit Vati. Mundhada was harassing Rana to fix certain amount as hafta. On October 15, 2010, FDA administration had initiated inquiry against Mundhada. FDA had remarked, in writing that Mundhada had not maintained integrity in performing his duty also misused his official post and committed corruption.

On May 23, 2014, H R Suryavanshi, deputy secretary Maharashtra government initiated second inquiry (copy available with ABI) against Mundhda with a written remark that Mundhada is unaware of his official duties and responsibilities.

Suspension

Mahesh Zagade, the then commissioner, FDA had suspended Mundhada after a surprise check revealed that two chemist shops in his zone were functioning without a qualified pharmacist.

On March 17, 2013, Zagade visited a few chemists in Worli posing as a customer without prescription, and managed to convince an attendant at Ashirwad Medical store, which was selling medicines without a pharmacist, to sell him Cetzine, an antihistamine, without prescription. The attendant had, however, refused to give him Erythromycin, an antibiotic used for severe infections, without a prescription. The same day, members of Zagade’s vigilance team visited Anil Medical at Worli Naka and the store was selling drugs without a pharmacist. Mundhada was suspended.

However in a surprising turn of events last month Mundhada was promoted as incharge assistant commissioner, without taking into any consideration his past suspensions and offences.

On October 21, 2014, Dr. Ved Tiwari complained (copy available with ABI) to Governor of Maharashtra, Vidyasagar Rao, Lokayukta , Chief Secretary Swadhin Kshatriya, Medical Education Secretary Manisha Mhaiskar to continue the suspension till inquiry is going on against Mundhada. Tiwari has also demanded to dismiss Mundhada if he is found guilty in inquiry.

Tiwari said, “how can an officer with such a controversial background can be kept working in government service? Also the promotion is very much shocking. It shows abject failure of FDA administration in keeping corruption at check.”

“I am not aware about Tiwari’s complaint. He (Tiwari) had approached to me with an offer to do illegal work. I refused as I never do anything illegal. I have replied to government on my actions,” said Mundhada.

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