Former UP family welfare minister Babu Singh Kushwaha was released from the Dasna jail on Friday evening, four years after he was sent to judicial custody in connection with the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission scam.
Kushwaha, a minister in the previous Mayawati-led BSP government, was granted bail by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad.
This comes three months after the Supreme Court heard a bail plea moved by Kushwaha citing prolonged detention and directed the trial court to release him.
“He was released on Friday evening after we received orders from the court. His supporters started gathering here since Thursday evening,” said RS Yadav, officiating jail superintendent at Dasna jail.
“I was implicated in a political conspiracy but still maintain full faith in the legal system,” Kushwaha said on his release.
Kushwaha was arrested and produced before the court on March 3, 2012, when the final phase of polling for the UP Assembly elections came to an end.
Initially, the CBI had named Kushwaha as an accused in three cases. In 2015, Kushwaha moved the Supreme Court for bail. He pleaded for bail citing prolonged detention by the CBI as there was a delay in examination of witnesses after chargesheet was filed.
In its order on November 4, 2015, the Supreme Court observed that the number of witnesses cited by the prosecution was so large that the completion of trial itself might take few years.
The apex court directed the trial court at Ghaziabad to release Kushwaha after three months, subject to condition that the trial court is satisfied that delay in examination of prosecution witnesses cannot be attributed to the appellant.
“The CBI filed a fourth chargesheet in August 2015. Trial in three cases is ongoing while charges are yet to be framed against accused in the fourth case,” said Pankaj Sharma, Kushwaha’s lawyer.
“The trial court granted him bail in the fourth case considering the directions of Supreme Court in three other cases,” said BK Singh, special public prosecutor CBI.
For the bail, Kushwaha has to deposit Rs 50 lakh each for the first three cases and `75 lakh in connection with the fourth case, within four weeks from the date of release.
Kushwaha, a popular dalit and OBC leader, said he will discuss his plans for next year’s assembly elections later.