The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this week questioned former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati in connection with the over-Rs 5,000-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam.
The questioning, sources said, was conducted at her official residence in Delhi.
The agency had prepared to question Mayawati after it claimed to have found “new evidence” that indicated her alleged involvement in the scam. CBI sources said the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo was questioned to unearth a larger conspiracy.
Sources said Mayawati was questioned on various aspects of the scam, including the bifurcation of health and family welfare departments, which the CBI believes was done at her behest.
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During her examination, Mayawati is alleged to have evaded answers on crucial questions and even feigned ignorance on some of the decisions taken during her tenure as the chief minister. The CBI has registered 74 FIRs and filed 48 chargesheets in the scam.
The quizzing of the BSP chief was done as the probe agency has claimed to have got new evidence against her on the bifurcation of the Health and Family Welfare Department and creation of 100 posts of District Project Officers (DPOs), who were allegedly instrumental in alleged corruption in the implementation of NRHM schemes, they said. Mayawati was the chief minister of the state when the department was bifurcated.
While she or her party was not immediately available for comments, the former CM had recently accused the Centre of misusing the CBI for political gains ahead of the Bihar election and claimed she had no involvement in the case.
The CBI alleges that the bifurcation of the department was done so that the NRHM funds could be placed directly under the charge of the Department of Family Welfare, which was under Minister Babu Singh Kushwaha — who is already chargesheeted by the agency.
“Only those persons were posted as DPOs, Family Welfare, who allegedly facilitated in award of the contract to the chosen suppliers and in lieu, the accused public servants obtained huge amount of illegal gratification,” the CBI FIR said.
Sources said they have found that 100 DPOs posts were illegally created in the state.
Between 2005-06 and 2011, the Centre gave Uttar Pradesh Rs 11,080 crore for the implementation of NRHM schemes, out of which Rs 9,133 crore was released for utilisation. The state had spent Rs 8,658 crore of the funds released by the Centre.
It is alleged that the posting of each CMO as DPO, Family Welfare, was done after payment of a huge amount of bribe as illegal gratification by the suppliers concerned to the then Minister of Family Welfare through one MLA and other private people acting as conduit to the then minister.
“A part of the share of the bribe was also allegedly received by the then Principal Secretary, Health. The accused persons caused undue gain to the private suppliers and themselves and caused equivalent loss to the government exchequer,” the agency alleged.