LUCKNOW: A key accused in the multi-crore NRHM scam, Sunil Verma, who was named in the CBI case along with former UP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha, allegedly committed suicide today at his residence here by shooting himself with his licenced revolver. Police here said 52-year-old Verma shot himself at his Vikas Nagar residence around 8.30 AM. He was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead.
Verma was named in the first FIR filed in the scam relating to upgradation of 134 hospitals across Uttar Pradesh for an amount of Rs.13.4 crores by Construction and Design Services, a unit of UP Jal Nigam in which Kushwaha also figured. The CBI had alleged the work was given to a Ghaziabad- based firm on the basis of bogus and forged documents and the construction was of inferior quality causing a loss of Rs. 5.46 crore to the exchequer.
Verma, who was National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) Project Manager with the Construction and Design Services, was named in the FIR and searches were conducted at his residence on January 4, this year, the CBI sources said, adding that he was neither questioned in the case nor was he asked to appear for questioning. He had been under depression after the CBI searches at his residence, family sources said.
This is the fourth mysterious death related to the scam with the murder of two Chief Medical Officers (CMO) and a Deputy CMO, who was found dead inside the jail hospital here. The Allahabad High Court had directed the CBI to inquire into the misuse of NRHM funds following these murders.
The CBI, probing the scam, has carried out searches at the houses of various officials, including bureaucrats and businessmen associated with the family welfare department. The CAG has in a report strongly indicted the state's health and family welfare department functionaries, middlemen and contractors for allegedly guzzling Rs 5,700 crore of the Rs 8,657 crore released between 2005 and 2011 under NRHM.
Demanding that Verma's case be handed over to the CBI, Pramod Tiwari, a UP Congress leader, said his death has taken place in "very mysterious circustances". "I don't know...You are saying that he shot himself dead.
I have doubts....whether he was forced to shoot himself or whether he was shot by some other person. We should not believe the story suggested by the police," he told reporters. "I strongly say that this matter should be given to the CBI to find out whether he committed suicide or was he shot," Tiwari added.