NRHM scam: Kushwaha, BSP MLA Jaiswal arrested
The CBI arrested former UP family welfare minister Babu Singh Kushwaha and BSP’s Barhaj MLA Ram Prasad Jaiswal on Saturday in connection with the Rs 10,000 crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam.
They were produced before a special CBI court in Ghaziabad, which sent them in 10-day remand.
The first political arrests in the NRHM scam came just as the final phase of polling for the seven-phase UP assembly elections wound up.
While the BJP cried foul, the Congress and RLD welcomed the move.
“The CBI has become the Congress bureau of investigation now. Why has it not acted so far against SP and BSP leaders, despite having proof against them in disproportionate assets cases?” asked state BJP chief Surya Pratap Shahi. The party’s national vice-president Vinay Katiyar dubbed the move politically motivated.
His interrogation would help the CBI reach the bottom of the scam, said an RLD spokesperson while UP Congress Committee president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said Kushwaha’s arrest was just the beginning of bringing all the accused to justice.
Kushwaha, a prominent OBC leader from UP, was expelled from the BSP in December. He then crossed over to the BJP, but his membership has been put on hold due to controversy.
A CBI officer said, “Medicine contracts were given to firms without floating tenders. The owners of the firms told the CBI they grabbed the tender after paying cuts to Kushwaha. Jaiswal brokered between the firms and Kushwaha.”
To CBI Judge Dr AK Singh’s questions about his role in the scam, Kushwaha said, “The CBI has alleged that I facilitated certain contract work which I have not done.
As a minister I only supervised the scheme. There was a single problem from Azamgarh reported to me and I took action.”
Jaiswal also denied the charges. “CBI has no evidence against me. I am being implicated as I am the minister’s friend.”
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