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NRHM scam: ED attaches assets of former UP minister Kushwaha

NRHM scam: ED attaches assets of former UP minister Kushwaha
In its first major action in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam, the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday attached assets worth Rs 60 crore belonging to former Uttar Pradesh minister Babu Singh Kushwaha and others under money laundering laws.

Kushwaha is also under CBI probe in the case and is considered to be key player in the alleged corruption and laundering of government funds with regard to implementation of the flagship health scheme of the central government in Uttar Pradesh.

The ED’s zonal office in Lucknow has attached a number of flats and land properties in the name of Kushwaha, a former BSP leader and Family Welfare Minister in the erstwhile Mayawati cabinet, and his associate and co-accused in the case R P Jaiswal.

The properties, which have been seized under the criminal provisions of the money laundering law, are located in Lucknow, Banda (UP), Noida and Delhi, sources said.

The ED will soon issue prohibitory orders on these assets and the accused will have the option to approach the Adjudicating Authority of PMLA against the action by the enforcement agency within 180 days.

The agency, the sources said, had registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA) in 2012 and subsequently found these assets to be ‘proceeds’ of the crime of illegal laundering of government funds sanctioned under the NRHM scheme.

The ED had registered a total of 14 separate cases in 2012 against Kushwaha and others to probe the alleged financial irregularities in the NRHM scheme taking cognisance of the CBI FIR registered earlier.

CBI, which had registered 13 FIRs in the same case, has already filed a number of charge sheets after it arrested Kushwaha.

In its FIR, the ED has named various individuals and former government officials of Uttar Pradesh including senior IAS officer and former Principal Secretary, Health, Pradeep Shukla, former General Manager of UP Jal Nigam’s PSU Construction and Design Service P K Jain, the then Project Manager B N Srivastava, the then Resident Engineers Katar Singh, B N Ram Yadav and the then Accountant J K Singh.

The agency has registered cases after going through the financial records of utilising funds to the tune of Rs.10,000 crore allocated under the centrally-sponsored NRHM to Uttar Pradesh by the Union Health Ministry.

CBI, during its probe in the case, has alleged that they detected that of every Rs 100 allocated for hospitals, nearly Rs 68 was being siphoned off by officials while remaining Rs 32 was utilised in the project.

While the first CBI chargesheet was filed in connection with alleged irregularities in the upgradation of 134 hospitals in UP under the NRHM accusing five former government officials, two companies and two others in the case, the second pertained to alleged irregularities in the central health scheme against former UP Director General of Family Welfare S P Ram and three others for flouting tender rules in supply of medical kits.

The third CBI chargesheet was filed with regard to alleged irregularities in purchase of computers and peripherals in the state under the centrally sponsored scheme.
M Post Bureau

M Post Bureau

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