Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday claimed that some people in the state were asking for bribes for making contractual employees of the National Health Mission permanent, reported PTI. Fadnavis, in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, wrote that the corruption is approximately to the tune of Rs 300 crore to Rs 400 crore.

The former chief minister alleged that some of the state’s ministers had earlier promised to make contractual workers permanent. “After such comments, there have been some audio clips where some people are demanding Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.50 lakh to make the employee permanent,” Fadnavis claimed. “It is a corruption of Rs 300 crore to Rs 400 crore.”

There are about 20,000 contractual workers in Maharashtra under the National Health Mission, a Centre-funded scheme with the state government as the implementing authority, Fadnavis said.

“Many people have taken a loan to pay the bribe so that they can get a permanent job,” he added. “I am sending three audio clips along with my letter where the alleged conversations of bribe are recorded.”

The Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly called for strict action against officials, adding that no one should be spared if found guilty. He added that if one such scheme was mired in corruption, “one can imagine how much corruption is going on in various sectors of the state health department”.

His comments came a day after Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that the Maharashtra government will order a probe into allegations of irregularities in conducting an examination to fill up lower category posts in the state government in 2019. The alleged scam took place during the tenure of former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, an exclusive investigative report by The Wire revealed on Sunday.

The irregularities were first flagged nearly six months ago after Ahmednagar District Collector Rahul Dwivedi submitted a 12-page report to the revenue and information technology departments. The exam was conducted by the ‘MahaPariksha Portal’, handled by the Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation Limited, between July 2 and July 26, 2019, across 34 districts. As many as 25,000 positions were to be filled. Around 35 lakh aspirants had applied for these positions.