The Central Bureau of Investigation has written to the Uttar Pradesh government seeking details of travel sanctions given to former principal secretary (health and family welfare) Pradeep Shukla,who has been arrested in the NRHM scam.
Shukla,a 1981-batch IAS officer,was also NRHM mission director in Mayawatis government when the scam took place and is learnt to have travelled to the US a number of times along with his wife and other family members. According to the CBI,Shukla spent nearly Rs 63 lakh on his foreign visits in two years.
In its letter,the agency has sought details of sanction given to Shukla and his IAS officer wife Anuradha Shukla for the foreign tours. We have also sought the details about how many times Shukla or his wife in their official capacity had intimated the government about their travels and how many of these trips were cleared by the government, said a CBI official. Shukla had claimed that he along with his family members has travelled to the US to meet their daughter who is studying there,and that the expenses were paid from the account of his wife.
CBI stumbled upon Shuklas travel details while investigating the cash transactions. During the questioning of some of the suspects in the NRHM case,we learnt that Rs 25 lakh was paid to one person by the suspects at Shuklas office last year. On verification,it turned out that the man who was paid Rs 25 lakh was a travel agent. His further questioning revealed that the travel agent has been arranging for the travel of the family members frequently, said a senior CBI official.
On the role of IAS officer Anuradha Shukla,the officials said they would also examine her in connection with disproportionate assets case of her husband once the NRHM investigations are completed.
The CBI said a chargesheet will soon be filed against Pradeep Shukla and others. The details on his foreign visits could be included in a supplementary chargesheet.
Shukla was arrested by CBI from Lucknow on May 11 after which he was taken on remand. He has been named in four FIRs registered by CBI in the multi-crore NRHM scam. He has been arrested in connection with one of the FIRs relating to upgradation of 89 district hospitals. The work involved construction of modular operation theatres and purchase of medical equipment. It has been alleged that the irregularities in the work caused the exchequer a loss of Rs 25 lakh per hospital.