LUCKNOW: The suicide by government official Sunil Verma, according to the inside sources in the CBI, has put the probe agency on the defensive and top authorities have directed the staff dealing directly with the suspects in the NRHM scam to maintain secrecy during interrogations and to keep the suspects away from the media glare to avoid social embarrassment to them at an early stage. At the same time, the CBI has intensified investigations in the NRHM and is reportedly interrogating nearly two dozen people in Lucknow and Delhi. Pradeep Shukla, principal secretary rank IAS officer is among the accused detained by the CBI for questioning them for their role in the NRHM which has brought a turmoil in the state politics.
The NRHM scandal has become a major issue in the UP elections and has caused a political upheaval of sorts. Chief Minister Mayawati, addressing a public meeting in Roorkee in Uttarakhand, on Monday blamed the UPA government for using the CBI to play up the scandal to tarnish the image of her government during the elections to extract political mileage out of it.She also criticised the manner in which the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had been leaked, and blamed the UPA government for the NRHM scam. The CAG in its performance report has detected a `4,900 crore scam .The CAG in its report has highlighted the irregularities that took place from the level of the drug purchase to the civil works and to the purchase of ambulances. Two of Mayawati’s health ministers, Babu Singh Kushwaha, who is now in the BJP camp, and Anant Kumar Mishra, have already resigned on “moral ground” while half a dozen IAS officers and nearly 150 other officials of various departments, including in the rank of DGs and the MDs, and private entrepreneurs are facing the heat, with regard to the scam. Some of them were arrested, while others were detained and named in FIRs as accused.
The Opposition, suspecting the NRHM scam was connected to the office of the Chief Minister, is using the opportunity to flay the ruling BSP and the CM.The NRHM scandal is all set be another cause of confrontation between the Congress and the ruling BSP in the state.
Reacting sharply to the Verma’s suicide, Congress general secretary, Digvijay Singh, said it appeared that there was a deep-rooted conspiracy in the NRHM and all angles should be investigated. Verma was a project manager in the Construction and Design Services (CNDS), a work executing agency of the UP Jal Nigam.