Former UP health secy arrested in NRHM probe

Former principal secretary (health) of Uttar Pradesh Pradeep Shukla has been arrested by the CBI in connection with the NRHM scam.

The CBI had named Shukla as one of the main accused in its FIR related to the NRHM scam and had questioned him on previous occasions. Firstpost earlier reported that Shukla, an IAS topper in 1981, was interrogated about half-a-dozen NRHM projects worth hundreds of crores that he had executed.

At the top was a project for purchasing hundreds of mobile medical units — the contract for which was awarded to three companies: Jagran Solutions, Jain Video on Wheels and Camp Rewa.

 Former UP health secy arrested in NRHM probe

Shukla was a IAS topper in 1981: Nidhi Srivastava/Firstpost

The CBI alleges that Shukla gave these companies undue favours, even after contracts were awarded.

According to CBI sources, Shukla gave the companies “undue favours” including relaxing bank guarantee rules and allowing the same companies to oversee “interior fabrication” of the mobile medical units which was against tender rules. (To read earlier Firstpost exclusives on the NRHM scam, read this, and this and this).

The counting is still on, but the loss to the government exchequer on only the mobile medical units is pegged to be at Rs 23 crore.

In another NRHM case, Shukla is being probed for allegedly using his influence to award a medical project involving upgradation of 40 district-level hospitals to Surgicoin Mediquip Pvt Ltd.

The CBI believes that Rs 1.25 crore was to be paid to secure this contract. A sum of Rs 50 lakh was allegedly paid to a Shukla’s acquaintance, Ashok Vajpayee from Delhi. More money was paid to Vajpayee in Lucknow and also to Shukla, allegedly at the behest of the Surgicoin chief, the CBI suspects.

The arrest means that the CBI has been largely successful in following the money trail and believe they have sufficient evidence against him. It also comes just three days after the arrest of former Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr AK Shukla in Lucknow in connection with the murder of his senior CMO Dr Vinod Arya.

Since the scam was exposed, two senior doctors affiliated to the health department including Dr Arya, had been found murdered; another was found dead in a Lucknow jail in mysterious circumstances. Then, in January, an officer with the UP Jal Nigam committed suicide allegedly because he was being investigated for his role in the scam. The CBI are investigating all three deaths.

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Updated Date: May 10, 2012 10:09:51 IST