The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday arrested former Uttar Pradesh family welfare minister Babu Singh Kushwaha and Bahujan Samaj Party Member of Legislative Assembly Ram Prasad Jaiswal.
Kushwaha and Jaiswal are the first politicians to be arrested in the NRHM scam, which relates to the alleged swindling of over Rs 10,000 crore central funds allocated to the state under the mission.
So far, the CBI has arrested 10 people, including retired director general (family welfare) S P Ram, General Manager of a state PSU P K Jain and retired managing director of a state PSU G K Batra.
The agency called Kushwaha and Jaiswal at its headquarters in Delhi on Saturday for detailed questioning. Both arrived at about 11 in the morning and were grilled for four hours before being arrested by the agency.
Kushwaha, who was expelled from Bahujan Samaj Party in December last year, is accused in the case related to upgradation of 134 district hospitals for an amount of Rs 13.4 crore by Construction and Design Service, a unit of Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam, CBI sources said.
"The investigation has so far disclosed that the said work was given to a Ghaziabad-based private company on the basis of bogus and forged documents and the material installed in the hospitals were found to be of inferior and sub-standard quality," CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said.
The agency has so far registered 12 cases involving alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 370 crore in the utilisation of NRHM fund.
Prima facie, the agency has found offences of criminal misconduct and conspiracy on the part of then minister Kushwaha, the then principal secretary (family welfare) Pradeep Shukla and officials at various levels with private contractors and vendors, they said.
"Huge cash payments were allegedly made by private suppliers to the then minister and his associates in lieu of these contracts. An approximate loss of Rs 5.46 crore was found to have been caused to government exchequer in the said case," Mishra said.
She said investigations carried out so far have indicated that tenders were allegedly awarded in a pre-determined manner to favour certain private firms, at exorbitant rates, in gross violation of established tender procedures, thereby causing a loss to government exchequer.
"The investigation has also revealed that select private firms were awarded a large number of contracts," she said.