UP's rural health fund scam: Mayawati's govt faces heat
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 17, 2012 10:18 IST
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Rae Bareilly: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's government is
facing the heat after a fifth death allegedly related to the Rs.
5000-crore rural health fund scam in the state was reported yesterday.
Political attacks against the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief have
grown fiercer with her opponents blaming her for allegedly turning a
blind eye to corruption. The CBI has also intensified its crackdown
and probe into the scam that saw corrupt bureaucrats and politicians
siphoning away crores meant to improve health facilities.
The fresh political storm in the state has been triggered by the death
of Mahendra Sharma, a clerk with the state Health Department. Mr
Sharma, who worked with a community health centre, was found dead in
Lakhimpur yesterday. His family has alleged that he was being forced
by senior health officials to fabricate documents that showed funds
being spent on medicines and other supplies. They suspect he was
"He has injuries all over his body. We informed them that my father
has not reached home... when we went to there we saw his body... no
one came to help him... We found some documents. He was under
pressure," said Mr Sharma's son Neeraj.
"He was an innocent person. He was living in panic. They killed him,"
said his wife. The police are now waiting for Mr Sharma's post-mortem
report to confirm the reason for his death.
Mahendra Sharma's death, right in the middle of the Uttar Pradesh
elections, couldn't have come at a worse time for chief minister
Mayawati. Leading the attack against her yesterday was Congress leader
Priyanka Gandhi. "I think it's a very sad situation that the central
government sends funds for the people and obviously that the fact that
these things are happening means that they are being used wrongly and
there is a lot of corruption," she said.
The BJP, which is facing flak for embracing Mayawati's sacked family
welfare minister Babu Singh Kushwaha, also seized the opportunity to
attack the UP Chief Minister. "A lot of skeletons are still going to
come out. The larger issue is about the liability of Mayawati herself
as the Chief Minister and also the earlier regime of Mulayam Singh
Yadav. The entire scam lasts to about last seven-eight years spanning
into at least Rs. 5000 crore, that's important," BJP spokesperson
Ravishankar Prasad said.
The scam was birthed in the Family Welfare department in Mayawati's
government, which handled the huge funds sent by the Centre for the
National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) Scheme.
In 2010-11, two senior doctors associated with the Family Welfare
ministry were murdered within months of each other. Then, the man who
stepped in for them was also found dead in a Lucknow jail. In January,
an officer with the UP Jal Nigam, committed suicide allegedly because
he was being investigated for a role in the scam.
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