The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered five new cases, including one against the former Family Welfare Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Babu Singh Kushwaha, pertaining to alleged irregularities in the implementation of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds, leading to a loss of Rs.28 crore to the exchequer. The investigating agency seized valuables, cash and documents during the searches conducted at 60 places in Delhi, U.P, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.
Pursuant to the Allahabad High Court directions, the CBI, on November 19 last year, registered five preliminary enquiries in connection with alleged irregularities in utilising NRHM funds to the tune of Rs.10,000 crore allocated to the State government since 2005-06. Two of these enquiries have now culminated in registration of five cases.
Mr. Kushwaha, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday, has been named an accused in the first case related to upgrade of 134 district hospitals for Rs.13.4 crore by the Construction & Design Services (C&DS), a unit of the U.P. Jal Nigam. Some papers that were part of the 1,500-page document submitted to the CBI on December 30 by BJP national secretary Kirit Somaiya have also been included in the case.
According to the CBI, investigations so far revealed that the work was given to a company named Surgicoin on forged documents and the materials installed at the hospitals were found to be of an inferior quality. The former Director-General (Family Welfare), S.P. Ram, and C&DS general manager P.K. Jain have also been named in the case.
“Searches were conducted at the residential and official premises of the accused, including two places belonging to Mr. Kushwaha and one of his associates in Gwalior. Three kg of gold and Rs.1.1 crore in cash were found in the bank locker of P.K. Jain. A 300-member team conducted searches on the Ghaziabad premises of Surgicoin,” said a spokesperson.
Four other cases were registered in connection with alleged irregularities in awarding contracts for procurement of medicine and medicinal equipment and expenses on publicity material by the former Director-General (Family Welfare). The procurements were done through State-owned public sector units at “exorbitant rates,” four to five times more than the prevailing market rates.
In one such case, the agency found that the contract for purchasing medical equipment worth Rs.4.42 crore was awarded to Guru Kripa (Moradabad) and Kapil Medical Agency (Moradabad) in a “pre-decided” manner. The CBI claimed that it led to a loss of Rs.1.5 crore to the exchequer. In another case, tenders for procurement of publicity material were awarded at “exorbitant prices” to Sidhi Traders (Moradabad) for Rs.13.7 crore, causing a loss of Rs.8 crore to the exchequer.
In the fourth case, a contract for purchase of medical kits was awarded at exorbitant rates to Surgicoin (Ghaziabad) for Rs.31.59 crore. “It led to a loss of Rs.10 crore,” said a CBI official. In the fifth case pertaining to purchase of computers by the State Health Society through Shreeton India Limited, the PSU had allegedly paid advance money to one Radhey Shyam Enterprises and Axis Marketing even before tender was invited by them. It purportedly caused a loss of Rs.2.93 crore.
While the five cases were registered on January 2, the three other preliminary enquiries are still under way.
The CBI has been directed to complete the enquiries in four months.
The CBI had quizzed Mr. Kushwaha and the former Health Minister, Anant Kumar Mishra, in connection with the mysterious death of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Y.S. Sachan — an accused in the murder of CMO's Vinod Arya in October 2010 and his successor B. P. Singh in April last year — inside a Lucknow jail, soon after he was arrested by the police in connection with the NRHM scam.
According to the CBI, Dr. Sachan apparently committed suicide.