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The Bombay High Court in Panaji Friday put a stop to Goa’s first attempt to partly privatise a district hospital, directing the government to reconsider the tendering process adopted to lease out healthcare premises to a private medical care agency.

The order of the Panaji bench of Bombay High Court also asked the Goa government to set aside the letter of intent given to the Mumbai-based Radiant healthcare company Limited, which was awarded the controversial tender to operate the Asilo district hospital, located 15 km from here, on a public private partnership (PPP) basis.

The high court decision caps several months of controversy surrounding the privatisation process in which the opposition has accused Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane of receiving kickbacks for awarding tender.

A lower court had already ordered the filing of a first information report (FIR) against health secretary Rajiv Verma, and two senior bureaucrats, including state health director Rajnanda Desai, for a potential loss of more than Rs.700 crore over two decades, during which the hospital was to be managed by the private player.

Ahemadabad-based Shalby hospitals, a rival bidder to Radiant healthcare company, which had lost in the tendering process earlier this year, had also petitioned the high court, claiming that the tendering process was rigged.

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