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Top medical officer NOT murdered: CBI on NRHM scam

September 28, 2012 16:11 IST

Submitting its closure report before a special court in Lucknow, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday stunned all and sundry by concluding that Lucknow Deputy Chief Medical Officer Y S Sachan had "committed suicide" in the Lucknow district jail on June 22, 2011. His body had been discovered in an abandoned toilet of the prison.

Interestingly, the CBI report has turned out to be a carbon copy of what the earlier Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party administration was desperate to establish in the murder case. Sachan's murder was the third in a row in connection with the Rs, 5000 – crore scam related to the National Rural Health Mission.

Two CMOs were gunned down in Lucknow in October 2010 and April 2011 respectively. And Sachan was jailed on charges of hatching the conspiracy behind the murders, besides swindling crores from NRHM funds.

Following a PIL, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court sought a CBI probe into the alleged embezzlement in projects carried out under by the NRHM across Uttar Pradesh. Significantly, CBI has already booked a minister in Mayawati's regime -- Babu Singh Kushwaha -- as well as then Principal Secretary Health Pradeep Shukla, besides several other senior officials in the multi-billion scam.

More than a year after CBI sleuths took over the investigation from the UP police; the country's premier investigation agency has failed to unearth anything beyond what an allegedly shoddy investigation by the state police had revealed.

According to the CBI closure report, Dr Sachan used a blade to cut his veins in several parts of his body before hanging himself with his own belt, after tying it to a ventilator in the prison toilet, where his body was discovered.

Though the post-mortem report had mentioned foul play, the then Mayawati government stuck to its theory that Sachan had committed suicide.

His post-mortem report mentioned "excessive bleeding" as the cause of death and talked about nine wounds on the doctor's body, yet the officials ruled out murder.

"As per the post-mortem report, eight of the nine wounds on Sachan's body were caused by a sharp-edged blade, while one was a mark left around his neck," said the CBI closure report.

It said "while two wounds were found on his neck, two each were on the right and left elbows, one on the left thigh and one on his wrist".

It also added what the UP police had stated in their initial findings -- that Sachan first tried to strangulate himself using his own belt but when that failed, he used a blade to cut his veins and then bled to death.

Family members of Sachan, as well as the person who filed the PIL seeking a CBI probe, were unwilling accept the conclusions drawn by the agency.

"We still have reason to believe that Dr Sachan was silenced by the high and mighty people in the state government, as they feared that he could expose their role in swindling thousands of crores from the NRHM fund," said a member of Sachan's family.

"I am not ready to accept the verdict given by the CBI. I will file an appeal before the high court to ensure that the guilty are brought to book," asserted Sachchidanand Gupta, the petitioner who had filed the PIL.

The award of huge contracts for supply of goods and equipment under the centrally-funded NRHM and large-scale financial bungling were officially stated to be the cause behind the multiple murders.

Sharat Pradhan In Lucknow