The Uttar Pradesh government has suspended 18 senior government doctors who are the under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) scanner for their alleged role in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam.
Doctors of ranks as high as Chief Medical Officers (CMOs), deputy CMOs and additional CMOs are a part of these suspended doctors.
More than 100 government doctors across the state are under the CBI scanner for their alleged role in the Rs 5000 crore NRHM scam.
In 2005, the UPA government launched the National Rural Health Mission Scheme. Huge amounts of money were to be sent to states to provide accessible and affordable health care to the poorest families in remote regions. The government's auditor has said that more than half of 8500 crores sent by the Centre to UP (from 2005 to 2011) have been embezzled.
The large scale bungling in the centrally funded programme involved not only heavy over-invoicing, but even fake supply of medicines and hospital equipment by fictitious firms as well as huge kickbacks in construction activity undertaken with a view to improving the available health services in government-run primary health centres in rural areas.
The scam saw corrupt bureaucrats and politicians siphoning away crores meant to improve health facilities. It was birthed in the Family Welfare department in Mayawati's government, which handled the huge funds sent by the Centre for the NRHM Scheme. Mr Kushwaha was sacked by Mayawati in April last year after the murders of three chief medical officers forced the government to acknowledge the deep-rooted graft in his department.
Two senior doctors affiliated to the department were murdered; another was found dead in a Lucknow jail in mysterious circumstances. In January, an officer with the UP Jal Nigam committed suicide allegedly because he was being investigated for his role in the scam.
The Allahabad High Court has ordered the CBI to investigate the trio of deaths and the swindle entrenched in the department. Former Chief Minister Mayawati, however, described the investigation into the swindle, and its findings, as a political conspiracy against her.