CBI unearths appointment scam under NRHM
Lucknow: The CBI has registered a fresh case in the NRHM scam relating to alleged selective appointment of over 100 Chief Medical Officers in 72 districts by the then ministers in collusion with private contractors to ensure that lucrative supply and construction orders were bagged by them.
On each appointment of these CMOs, Rs 15-20 lakh were allegedly given as bribe to the then UP Minister of Family Welfare Babu Singh Kushwaha and Health Minister Anant Mishra by middlemen who had interests in medicine and other supplies, sources said. The agency after registering a case against Kushwaha, Mishra, the then Principal Secretary Pradeep Shukla, middlemen Rashid Malik and Girish Malik, the then DG Family Welfare S P Ram, former MLA Ashok Katiyar, MLC R P Jaiswal among others carried out searches at the residence of Mishra in Lucknow and Kanpur and seized incriminating documents, they said.
The CBI has also found in its probe that Kushwaha and Shukla were allegedly instrumental in bifurcating the Health and Family Welfare Department so that Family Welfare Department headed by Kushwaha kept getting major chunk of contracts under the NRHM scheme, they said. Sources said to achieve this, a proposal was prepared in "haste" on May 5, 2010 by Kushwaha and Shukla and moved it the same day to the then Chief Minister Mayawati for approval. This bifurcation, CBI alleged was in violation of norms laid down by the Central Government.
According to CBI sources, the appointment scam is the mother of all as it allegedly showed how the system was thwarted at the district level to ensure that favoured private parties kept getting contracts of medicine supplies and construction activities at rates which were 10-15 times higher than market prices.
The CBI has alleged that CMOs which were posted, without any seniority consideration or vigilance clearance, were chosen by private suppliers who paid Rs 15-20 lakh as bribe for each posting to the then ministers through an MLA as conduit. CBI has found in its investigation that middleman Rashid Malik alias Guddu Khan himself was instrumental in the postings of 25 CMOs as DPOs.
Sources said while postings were made, it was ensured that only those CMOs are posted as District Project Officers who are willing to toe the line of private suppliers and keep giving them huge orders. They said in furtherance of the conspiracy a list of over 100 CMOs of level four (Joint Director) was allegedly prepared in consultation with private medical suppliers who shelled out Rs 15-20 lakh as bribe for their favourite ones.
CBI sources said a part of this bribe allegedly went to Shukla also. The CBI has so far registered 14 cases in connection with alleged irregularities in the utilisation of funds received under the National Rural Health Mission. The state has received over Rs 9000 crore as funds for the health scheme in rural areas.