In a tweet posted on December 18, 2020, BJP’s Delhi unit accused the AAP-led Delhi government of corruption. It claimed that the Kejriwal administration bought a single pulse oximeter, normally priced between Rs 500 and 1000, for Rs 66,320. The picture in the tweet shows the order number of a pulse oximeter that has been highlighted and its rate is shown as Rs 66,320. It also mentions that this was allegedly purchased by the Health and Family Welfare Department of Delhi. (Archive link)

Rajeev Babbar, vice-president of BJP Delhi, had earlier made this claim in a press conference along with tweeting a video on the matter. (Archive link)

BJP member Surendra Poonia and Rishi Bagree, who have both been caught spreading misinformation in the past, also made the same claim. Poonia wrote, “The Delhi government bought pulse oximeters during the COVID-19 pandemic…You will be shocked to know the price of one oximeter, which is Rs. 66,320.” This tweet received more than 8000 likes (archived link). Bagree wrote that the government of Delhi has purchased oximeter worth Rs 1500 for Rs 66,320 (archived link). Visshnu Mittal, treasurer of BJP Delhi, also promoted the same claim (archive link).

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AAP’s response

In a press conference, Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh dismissed the corruption allegations, clarifying that the devices they purchased were not the ordinary finger pulse oximeters, which are clamped onto the patient’s finger, but a special type of table-top oximeters. They bought these from the Government e-Marketplace (GeM). Singh also shared details of the purchase showing the order number cited in BJP Delhi’s tweet. He explained that this rate is mentioned on the GeM government website, which comes under the central government.

The AAP leader shows the order number and its details in the video. Citing the same order number, BJP had claimed that the devices normally costing Rs 500-1000 were bought for more than Rs. 60,000.

The name of the product purchased by the Delhi Government is ‘EDAN TABLE TOP Adult and Pediatric and Neonatal Pulse Oximeter’. The contract is dated June 5, 2020.

Apart from this, we noticed that AAP’s social media officer Abhijeet Dipke shared a screenshot of the purchase of this product on the GeM website in a reply to Rishi Bagree’s tweet.

Fact-check

In the screenshot shared by Dipke, the details of contract number 511687749745527 have been shared off of the URL gem.gov.in/view_contracts. When Alt News tried to look up this number on the site, we derived the same information. This can be seen in the video posted below.

Prices of oximeters of this kind from different brands range anywhere from Rs 10,000 (after a heavy discount) to Rs. 1,50,000 on the GeM website. These prices vary depending on the device’s features and manufacturer.

AAP had bought an oximeter with an M3B Vital Signs monitor from a brand called EdanUSA. We located the same device on the company’s website.

The price of an oximeter with the same features is Rs 2,00,000 on IndiaMart. On ColMed, its price has been stated as Rs 1,92,000. On the American site absolutemed.com, it is priced at around USD 1450, i.e. Rs 1,00,000.

Therefore, in June, the Delhi government bought two EdanUSA table-top oximeters. Seeing the high rates of the devices, the BJP wrongly accused them of corruption on social media. However, the equipment purchased was specialized oximeters hence priced at those rates. Moreover, they were bought from the central government’s e-market website.

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About the Author

Priyanka Jha specialises in monitoring and researching mis/disinformation at Alt News. She also manages the Alt News Hindi portal.