Former minister and one-time Mayawati confidant Babu Singh Kushwaha was today arrested in connection with the UP National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam. The long-anticipated move by the CBI came on the day the state assembly elections drew to a close. Another politician,MLC Ram Prasad Jaiswal,was arrested too.
Both Kushwaha and Jaiswal were arrested after day-long questioning in Delhi,and have been remanded in CBI custody for 10 days. The agency said they were prime accused and would be questioned about the money trail.
The arrests were in consequence of an FIR about alleged irregularities in the upgradation of 134 district hospitals for an amount of Rs 13.40 crore by Construction and Design Service,a unit of UP Jal Nigam.
Kushwaha told a Ghaziabad court that it was Chief Minister Mayawati and the chief secretary who decided the allocation of NRHM funds. Both were chairpersons of the autonomous body handling the funds, he said.
Jaiswal too denied the charges. 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. I own eight companies and all the money I have is from the sale of their equity, he said.
The agency has reportedly established that Kushwaha gave the contract for upgradation of hospitals to Ghaziabad-based Surgicoin Private Limited on the basis of forged documents. The materials used in the hospitals were found to be sub-standard.
The rates quoted by Surgicoin and another private firm were also reportedly five times the then market rates. The CBI has pegged the loss at Rs 5.46 crore.
The CBI has so far registered 12 FIRs over irregularities in utilisation of NRHM funds. Including Kushwaha and Jaiswal,10 people are now under arrest.
The BJP called Kushwahas arrest selective targeting. The BJP will accept the legal course but this kind of targeting is not acceptable, the party said. Kushwaha had joined the BJP before the polls but his membership was suspended following protests.