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NRHM scam: CBI arrests four senior govt officials in UP

By Sharat Pradhan
May 30, 2012 19:32 IST
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Four new heads rolled on Wednesday in connection with the Uttar Pradesh's  multi-billion  National Rural Health Mission scam, that has already taken a toll of several bigwigs including a minister and a principal secretary  in the Mayawati government.

CBI sleuths swooped on these officials of the UP government-run Processing and Construction Cooperative Federation here early morning.

These included PACCFED managing director V.K.Chowdhury, Chief Engineer M N Tripathi, Superintending Engineer A K Srivastava and Assistant Engineer Vipul Kumar Gupta.

PACCSFED as entrusted with the construction of primary health centres and community health centres in the rural and semi-urban areas of the state under NRHM, which envisaged large scale improvement in the rural health services across the state.

According to Central Bureau of Investigation sources, PACCFED was neither equipped with the know-how nor the capacity to undertake these tasks, yet the job was entrusted to the organisation, solely with the intent of swallowing away funds.

Nearly 5000 crore rupees out of the Rs 9,000 crore allocated by the Union government between 2005 and 2011 towards various projects under NRHM in the state are suspected to have been pilfered and the booty shared between some ministers, Indian Administrative Service officers ,doctors ,engineers and other government officials.

The scam led to murders of three district CMOs, Dr Vinod Rai, Dr B Singh and Dr Y S Sachan. While Rai and Singh were gunned down outside their homes while they were on their routine morning walk, Sachan was allegedly strangulated inside the Lucknow district jail after being taken into custody.

Promineent among those who were already jailed were former family welfare minister Babu Singh Kushwaha , principal health secretary Pradeep Shukla and Lucknow district chief medical officer (CMO) Dr A K Shukla.

CBI also sees large scale money-laundering by those involved in the bungling With number of benami companies in operation, huge amounts were initially transferred into the accounts of companies and trusts owned by the accused officials and their relatives only after multiple routing and layering.

The money received by these companies and firms was invested into real estate and other immovable estate acquired by the accused persons, alleged CBI.

As such, CBI has sought the assistance of senior Income Tax officials to get deeper into the extent of money laundering.

More significantly, the agency has sought help of Financial Intelligence Unit that has been given list of the accused to track any suspicious transactions and cash transactions undertaken by them across the country or abroad. 

Meanwhile CBI has recovered about Rs. 9.5 crore in cash, 5.4 Kg of gold and documents relating to purchase of real estate worth about Rs. 37 crore from the possession of the 17 persons arrested in connection with the scam so far. Some foreign exchange has also been seized from some of the arrested persons.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow