UP scam accused shoots self dead

UP scam accused shoots self dead

UP scam accused shoots self dead

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam in Uttar Pradesh claimed its fourth victim, when a key accused in the scam, allegedly shot himself to death at his residence in the state capital on Monday, provoking Opposition parties to demand a CBI probe into the alleged suicide.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has concluded that at least Rs 5,754 crore was not accounted for in the expenditure on the rural health scheme in country’s most populous state that is going to polls. The CAG report, which is with the UP Governor, that covers NRHM in UP from April 2005 to March 2011 has found that false tenders were floated for buying vehicles and 550 medical centres were shown as built but do not exist.

Two senior health officials had earlier been killed and another official, all of whom linked to the scam, had died in mysterious circumstances inside the jail. Contractor Namit Tandon, an accused in the scam, had also tried to commit suicide last year but was saved by the doctors.

According to the police officials, Sunil Verma, the project manager in the construction and design department of UP Jal Nigam, which had been awarded some NRHM contracts, shot himself with his licensed revolver on Monday morning. He was admitted to hospital where he died.

Verma's name figured in the list of the key accused along with former UP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha.

The CBI, which is probing the scam, had raided Verma's residence on January 4, and had also allegedly seized some incriminating documents. Verma was also interrogated for several hours by CBI sleuths.

Verma had allegedly awarded contract to a Ghaziabad firm on the basis of forged documents and it resulted in a loss of Rs 5.46 crore to the public exchequer, police sources said.

The official also left a suicide note purported to be written by him before committing suicide. In the note, Verma has reportedly blamed the CBI for “forcing to take the extreme step.” He has claimed innocence in the note. The family of Verma said he had been in deep depression since the CBI raid.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh, however, suspected foul play in the suicide and demanded that the CBI should also probe the incident.  “It could be a conspiracy to shield the real culprits,'' Singh said.

Verma, incidently, is the fourth victim of the scam. In October 2010, then chief medical officer Dr Vinod Arya was shot dead in the city. Dr B P Singh, who succeeded Dr Arya was killed in the same way six months later.