NEW DELHI: While Central Bureau of Investigation has asked BSP chief Mayawati to join probe into multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam, the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday attached assets worth Rs 196 crore belonging to Mayawati’s close aide Babu Singh Kushwaha in the case.
The Enforcement Directorate alleged that Kushwaha, the health minister of UP during Mayawati government, had helped many private firms in rigging contracts for the health scheme. The scam took place during Mayawati’s regime between 2007 and 2012.
The Enforcement Directorate had registered a criminal case in this scam in 2012 in Lucknow after taking cognizance of the FIRs files by CBI into the Rs 10,000 crore NRHM scam. The ED had registered a total of 14 separate cases against Kushwaha and others to probe the alleged financial irregularities in the NRHM scheme and it has earlier attached assets worth Rs 60 crore of Kushwaha.
The agency sleuths had earlier questioned Kushwaha in this case along with many other accused.
“The attached assets include various movable and immovable assets in the name of Kushwaha. A amount of Rs 7. 12 crore have been utilised as book value purchase of various properties in the name of companies, firms and individuals related to the former minister and his associates. “The present market value of these assets is Rs 196 approximately,” ED in attachment order said .
The attachments have been made under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Kushwaha was arrested on March 3, 2012 by CBI and is still languishing in jail. Kushwaha has recently moved the apex court seeking bail, which was dismissed on February 13, with the court saying the allegations against him were very serious and it was a good case for dismissal.
In the meantime, sources in CBI said that they have asked the former UP Chief Minister to join the probe into the scam this week itself. Mayawati had alleged on Tuesday that decision to question her four years after the scam came to light only reeks of “political vendetta”.
She had said that CBI’s move against her was an attempt to demoralise her party and divert attention from the failure of the government to fulfill its promises made to the people. “It was an attempt to demoralise me and my party workers ahead of Bihar assembly elections,” she alleged