AS THE Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections drew to a close today,the CBI arrested the first politicians in the states National Rural Health Mission scam,including ex-minister and former Mayawati confidant Babu Singh Kushwaha. Kushwahas accomplice Ram Prasad Jaisawal,an MLC,was also arrested from New Delhi after day-long questioning. Both have been sent in CBI remand for 10 days.
Kushwaha and Jaisawal have been dubbed prime accused in the scam. The arrests were made in connection with an FIR into alleged irregularities in upgradation of 134 district hospitals for Rs 13.40 crore by the Construction and Design Service,a unit of UP Jal Nigam.
The CBI had sought 14 days remand for Kushwaha and Jaisawal,to question them on the money trail.
Claiming his innocence,Kushwaha claimed before a Ghaziabad court that it was Chief Minister Mayawati and the chief secretary who decided the allocation of funds and were present at all meetings.Both were the chairpersons of the autonomous body handling the funds, he said.
Jaisawal too denied the charges,saying all his companies alleged to be involved in the scam were registered. I have not spoken to Kushwaha after he left the BSP. I have been cooperating with the CBI. The alleged companies are in the name of my family members and I have not done any forgery in these firms, he said.
A two-month-long investigation by the special team probing the NRHM scam,headed by Additional Director General K Saleem Ali,has allegedly established that Kushwaha gave the contract for upgradation of hospitals to Ghaziabad-based Surgicoin Private Limited on the basis of bogus and forged documents. The materials used in the hospitals were found to be of sub-standard quality.
The rates quoted by Surgicoin and another private firm were also reportedly five times the then market rates. The CBI has pegged the loss to the exchequer in the upgradation of hospitals at Rs 5.46 crore.