Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday arrested former Uttar Pradesh Family Welfare Minister Babu Singh Kushwaha and BSP MLA Ram Prasad Jaiswal in connection with the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam in the State.
Mr. Kushwaha and Mr. Jaiswal are the first politicians to be arrested in the NRHM scam which relates to alleged swindling of over Rs 10,000 crore central funds allocated to the state under the mission.
So far, CBI has arrested 10 persons, including a retired Director General (Family Welfare) S.P. Ram, General Manager of a state PSU (Construction and Design Services (Subsidiary of Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam) P.K. Jain and retired MD of state PSU Shreetron India Ltd G.K. Batra.
The agency called Mr. Kushwaha and Mr. Jaiswal at its headquarters herre today for detailed questioning. Both arrived at about 11 a.m. and were grilled for about four hours before being arrested by the agency.
Mr. Kushwaha, who was expelled from Bahujan Samaj Party in December last year, is accused in the case relating to upgradation of 134 district hospitals for an amount of Rs 13.4 crore by Construction and Design Service, a unit of UP Jal Nigam, CBI sources said here.
“The investigation has so far disclosed that the said work was given to a Ghaziabad-based private company on the basis of bogus and forged documents and the material installed in the hospitals were found to be of inferior and sub-standard quality,” CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said.
The agency has so far registered 12 cases involving alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 370 crore in the utilisation of NRHM fund.
Sources said the work for up-gradation of hospitals was given to M/s Surgiocoin (Ghaziabad-based firm) on the basis of “forged” documents and the material installed in the hospitals were found to be of sub-standard quality.
Prima facie, the agency has found offences of criminal misconduct and conspiracy on the part of the then Minister (Family Welfare) Kushwaha, the then Principal Secretary(Family Welfare) Pradeep Shukla and officials at various levels with private contractors and vendors, they said.
“Huge cash payments were allegedly made by private supplier to the then Minister and his associates in lieu of these contracts. An approximate loss of Rs 5.46 crore was found to have been caused to government exchequer in the said case,” Ms. Mishra said.
She said investigation carried out so far has indicated that tenders were allegedly awarded in a pre-determined manner to favour certain private firms, at exorbitant rates, in gross violation of established tender procedures, thereby causing a loss to government exchequer.
“The investigation has also revealed that select private firms were awarded a large number of contracts,” she added.