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NRHM scam death stain on UP polls

Fifth death in Rs 10,000-cr health racket gives oppn ammo against Maya. HT reports. The death trail

india Updated: Feb 17, 2012 01:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
news,hindustantimes,NRHM scam

The Rs 10,000-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam in Uttar Pradesh got bloodier with yet another death — the fifth so far — in connection with the case.

Mahendra Sharma, 52, an accounting clerk in the state health department, was found lying in a pool of blood at a health centre in east UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri district on Wednesday. He was missing since February 7. The post-mortem revealed that Sharma had been smothered to death at least three days ago and his body has multiple injury marks.

Though police said Sharma’s death was not connected to the scam, his family alleged his seniors had forced him to sign some NRHM documents. The CBI, which is investigating the case also denied Sharma was being probed as a suspect or treated as a witness.

But in politically charged UP, in the middle of a crucial election, Mayawati’s opponents grabbed the opportunity to target her. The BJP demanded security for all those involved in the scam and attacked the chief minister as well as Mulayam Singh Yadav, during whose regime the NRHM was started.

The Congress’ Ambika Soni and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the death again showed that the Mayawati government was using the Centre’s money to fund corruption.

The NRHM scam was at the centre of a political controversy at the beginning of the UP polls, when the BJP chief brought into the party a minister, Babu Singh Khushwaha, who Mayawati had sacked for his alleged involvement in it.

First Published: Feb 16, 2012 17:01 IST