Lucknow/New Delhi: The
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday searched the Delhi
and Uttar Pradesh premises of sacked Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)
leader Babu Singh Kushwaha, now a BJP leader, for his alleged
involvement in a multi-crore health scam.
The searches, which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said was
politically motivated, were conducted in connection with alleged
financial irregularities in the supply of medicines and medical
equipment in the Rs.10,000 crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)
scam in Uttar Pradesh.
"Searches were conducted in 60 locations across Uttar Pradesh and
Delhi," a CBI spokesperson said without divulging details.
The spokesperson said the CBI registered five new cases Monday in
connection with largescale irregularities in the Uttar Pradesh
Kushwaha, once a trusted lieutenant of Chief Minister Mayawati and
a former family welfare minister, was removed in April following
his alleged involvement in the alleged financial embezzlement. He
was sacked by the BSP chief from the party in November.
BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters in New Delhi that
the timing of the search operation, which came a day after
Kushwaha joined the BJP, was suspect.
"The BJP is not a shield for corrupt people. But the CBI raids
seem motivated. Why did the CBI take so long for carrying out
searches," Naqvi told reporters, as the political controversy
intensified ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh
The BJP leader alleged that the CBI action was "selective", as
several other criminal cases and graft cases that the agency was
probing remained stagnant, including those relating to the
disproportionate wealth case against Mayawati.
Earlier, the Congress slammed the BJP for welcoming the tainted
former BSP leader in its fold saying the the opposition party now
stood exposed on its commitment to fight corruption.
"(The BJP) is inducting such corrupt people into the party. This
shows how much commitment the party has in fighting corruption in
the country," Congress' Rashid Alvi told reporters.
In Delhi, CBI sources said many houses and commercial
establishments owned by Kushwaha and his associates, including
legislator Ram Chandra Pradhan, were searched in 12 districts,
including Lucknow, Kanpur, Moradabad, Agra and Ghaziabad.
The residence and offices of the owners of the recently floated
Hindi daily Jan Sandesh were also searched. The office of the
daily is in a 12,000 sq ft premises in Lucknow's prime commercial
The sources said the CBI was inquiring the execution and
implementation of the scheme and utilisation of funds since its
launched in 2005-06.
The funds under the health scam were allocated to the state by the
union health ministry and have been spent through medical officers
of 72 districts of the state.
The sources said Kushwaha's 'benami' properties in Mumbai were
also under the CBI scanner.
The CBI is also investigating the mysterious deaths of three chief
medical officers who were closely linked with the implementation
of the scheme.
Earlier on Tuesday, the CBI had filed first information reports (FIRs)
related to the scam. Kushwaha has been named as an accused in one
of the five FIRs.
The charges include those of criminal misconduct and misuse of
office in implementing the scheme.
The tainted politician enjoys a large clout among the Kushwaha
community in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.