NRHM scam: Mayawati evades answers on crucial questions during CBI interrogation

New Delhi: Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati has been questioned by the CBI for her alleged involvement in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam after the agency claimed to have got “new evidence” against her.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) questioned Mayawati to unearth larger conspiracy in the scam, official sources said. The CBI has registered 74 FIRs and filed 48 chargesheets in the NRHM scam.

During her examination by the CBI officials, 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 quizzing of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief was done as the probe agency has claimed to have got new evidence against her on 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 of health and family welfare was bifurcated. While she or her party was not immediately available for comments, the former chief minister had recently accused the Centre of misusing CBI for political gains ahead of Bihar elections and claimed she had no involvement in the case.

CBI alleges that the bifurcation of 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 — already charge sheeted 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.

“In pursuance of the said criminal conspiracy, bifurcation of the health department was proposed and got approved against prescribed norms of NRHM as laid down by Government of India,” CBI FIR has alleged. The sources said they have found that the creation of 100 posts of the DPO in the state was done in an irregular manner.

CBI sources claimed to have found evidence of alleged corrupt practises in the implementation of NRHM schemes in the state involving the officials of medical and health department in general and the Chief Medical officers (CMOs) and DPOs in particular.

Between 2005-06 and 2011, the Centre gave Rs11,080 crore to Uttar Pradesh for the implementation of NRHM schemes out of which Rs9,133 crore was released for utilisation. The state had spent Rs8,658 crore of the funds released by the Centre.

CBI has already charge sheeted Kushwaha and principal secretary Pradeep Shukla in connection with the case. It is alleged that the posting of each CMO as DPO Family Welfare was allegedly 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 persons 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.

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