CBI to probe NRHM scam in UP

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday ordered a CBI probe into the alleged scam in the implementation of programs run under the National Rural Health Mission in Uttar Pradesh.

Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday
directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary probe into the
affairs of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) since its
inception in Uttar Pradesh.

The Lucknow Bench of the Court gave the order while
disposing of three PILs seeking a CBI inquiry into alleged
irregularities in the NRHM.
A Division Bench comprising justices Pradeep Kant and
Ritu Raj Awasthi directed that the preliminary inquiry, to be
completed within four months, would be conducted from 2005-06
till date.

It directed the state government to hand over and make
available all records that might be required by the CBI and
render full support and cooperation to the agency.

The Central government was also directed to render full
support that might be required, according to the order.

In its order, the Bench observed considering the facts
and circumstances of the present case, it was painful to
see that a scheme meant for providing quality health services
had taken the lives of three CMOs.

"We are prima facie convinced that gross irregularities -
financial and administrative -- appear to have been committed
in the execution and implementation of NRHM including the
matter of award of contracts, procurement of goods, articles
etc. at various levels," the order said.

The Bench turned down the state government`s plea that it
should wait for the report of the CAG conducting a special
state-level audit.

The Bench said "we also take notice of the fact that
the murders of two CMOs V K Arya and B P Singh, death of Y S
Sachan while in judicial custody and financial irregularities
in the office of the CMO, Lucknow, all in relation to
irregularities in the NRHM, are already being investigated by
the CBI pursuant to orders of this Court with the consent of
the state government."
It said "we, therefore, direct the Director CBI to
conduct a preliminary probe into the matter of execution and
implementation of the NRHM and utilisation of funds at various
levels during such implementation in the entire UP and
register regular cases in respect of persons against whom
prima facie cognizable offence is made out and proceed in
accordance with the law."

Welcoming the decision, BJP spokesman Vijay Bhadur
Pathak said "the order has vindicated our stand of large-scale
irregularities in implementation of the NRHM in the state."

Congress spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said the state
government was in a denial mode while the order had
established irregularities in implementation of the scheme in
the state.

"Now the court has ordered a CBI probe. The ministers
at that time should be arrested immediately so that they can
not affect the probe in any way," he said.

PTI