BJP in Congress line of fire over Kushwaha as CBI raids premises (Fourth Lead)January 4th, 2012 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) A day after inducting a tainted former Uttar Pradesh minister into its fold, the BJP was Wednesday at the receiving end on the issue of corruption, with the Congress saying the party stood exposed in its commitment to fight graft.
Sacked Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Babu Singh Kushwaha was Tuesday inducted into the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The war of words between the Congress and BJP came as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday searched the Delhi,Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh premises of Kushwaha for his alleged involvement in a multi-crore rural health scam.
The searches, which the BJP termed as 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, Haryana, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh after obtaining the search warrants from the competent courts yesterday itself,” a CBI spokesperson said.
The CBI registered five new cases Monday in connection with irregularities in the NRHM scam.
Kushwaha, a prominent OBC leader and once a trusted lieutenant of Chief Minister Mayawati, was removed as family welfare minister in April following his alleged involvement in the embezzlement. He was sacked from the BSP in November.
Justifying Kushwaha’s induction, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters in New Delhi that the timing of the CBI search operation 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.
BJP state chief Surya Pratap Shahi, who got Kushwaha into the party said “we will defend our decision” to induct him. “Well it is quite evident that the CBI was guided by the central government that is why it was doing selective targeting.”
Other BJP leaders like Vinay Katiyar and Ananth Kumar also supported Kushwaha, saying the law will take its own course against him.
The BJP also said it would not give Kushwaha a ticket for the Feb 4-28 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
“If he is found guilty then we will not be with him. We have not taken him to fight the elections. We will not give him the ticket,” Katiyar said.
Kumar said: “Kushwaha is one of the strongest leaders of the OBC in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP is getting stronger day by day.”
The Congress slammed the BJP for welcoming the tainted politician in its fold, saying 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.
CBI spokesperson, Dharini Mishra said: “CBI has conducted raids at three different premises of Babu Singh Kushwaha, two premises in Lucknow and one in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. Except for some documents, no valuables were recovered from these places.”
Replying to a question on how CBI figured out the alleged involvement of Kushwaha in the NHRM case within only one-and-a-half months while the case of missing nurse Bhanwari Devi is still unsolved, Mishra said: “It was an open and shut case. Among five Preliminary Enquiries (PEs), in only two five FIRs have been registered. Three PEs are still being investigated.”
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 NRHS.
Sources said the CBI was inquiring into implementation of the NRHS and utilisation of funds since its launch in 2005-06. The funds were allocated to the state by the union health ministry and were been spent through the medical officers of the state’s 72 districts.
The CBI is also investigating the mysterious deaths of three chief medical officers who were closely linked with implementation of the scheme.
Mishra, however, also parried a question on whether the CBI was working under the government’s directions.
The residence and offices of the owners of the recently floated Hindi daily Jan Sandesh in a 12,000 sq ft premises in Lucknow’s Hazratganj were also searched.
The sources said Kushwaha’s ‘benami’ properties in Mumbai were also under the CBI scanner.
The tainted politician enjoys considerable clout among the Kushwaha community in Uttar Pradesh.
- Political war erupts as CBI raids Kushwaha's premises (Roundup) - Jan 04, 2012
- BJP in Congress line of fire over Kushwaha as CBI raids premises (Third Lead) - Jan 04, 2012
- Embarrassed over Kushwaha, BJP targets Congress, BSP (Lead) - Jan 04, 2012
- Day after joining BJP, Kushwaha's premises raided (Second Lead) - Jan 04, 2012
- CBI raids on Kushwaha motivated: BJP - Jan 04, 2012
- Congress slams BJP for admitting Kushwaha (Lead) - Jan 04, 2012
- Joined BJP to protect backward castes: Kushwaha - Jan 04, 2012
- Kushwaha urges Gadkari to put his BJP membership on hold (Lead) - Jan 07, 2012
- Put my membership on hold: Kushwaha tells Gadkari - Jan 07, 2012
- Gadkari mum to query on Kushwaha's induction - Jan 05, 2012
- BJP defensive over Kushwaha's inclusion, Congress strikes - Jan 05, 2012
- BJP faces criticism from own ranks, allies on Kushwaha issue - Jan 05, 2012
- Kushwaha's membership suspended: BJP - Jan 08, 2012
- Differences in NDA over ex-BSP man Kushwaha - Jan 04, 2012
- UP BJP leaders blame Kushwaha episode for debacle - Apr 17, 2012
Tags: bharatiya janata party, bjp, cbi raids, central bureau of investigation, family welfare, financial irregularities, kushwaha, line of fire, madhya pradesh, Mayawati, naqvi, national rural health, national rural health mission, obc, pratap, search operation, search warrants, state chief, uttar pradesh minister, war of words