UP health official found dead, family alleges murder (Lead)

February 16th, 2012 - 10:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Priyanka Gandhi Lucknow, Feb 16 (IANS) An Uttar Pradesh health department official missing since Feb 7 was found dead, police said Thursday as his family alleged it was related to the multi-crore rural health scam that has rocked the state and claimed lives of four officials.

Mahendra Sharma, an accounting clerk in the state health department, was found lying in a pool of blood at a health centre in Lakhimpur Kheri. Police said it appeared that the official had committed suicide.

“The post-mortem examination is on,” Superintendent of Police Ajit Chandra told reporters.

Sharma’s family had filed a missing person report on Feb 7 after he was allegedly suspended by his senior for refusing to sign some documents that showed funds being spent on medicines and other supplies.

“My husband was honest and that is why pressure was put on him. The chief medical officer had threatened my husband to sign some files. This is what happened… as my husband refused to sign those papers. They got him killed,” Sharma’s wailing wife told reporters.

His son Neeraj alleged that his father’s body bore injury marks. “He had injuries all over his body… We found some documents. He was under pressure. He was murdered.”

The death comes at a time when assembly elections are going on in Uttar Pradesh. Political parties were quick to launch a scathing attack against Chief Minister Mayawati.

Congress’ star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi led the anti-Mayawati attack saying: “I think it’s a very sad situation that the central government sends funds for the people and obviously that the fact that these things are happening means that they are being used wrongly and there is a lot of corruption.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which embraced sacked Uttar Pradesh minister Babu Singh Kushwaha, one of the accused in the scam, alleged that the state government was ignoring corruption that has reached a massive scale in Uttar Pradesh.

“A lot of skeletons are still going to come out. The larger issue is about the liability of Mayawati herself as the chief minister and also the earlier regime of Mulayam Singh Yadav,” party spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said.

The Rs.10,000 crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam in Uttar Pradesh relating to alleged financial irregularities in the supply of medicines and medical equipment is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Earlier, two chief medical officers, a deputy chief medical officer and a project manager linked to the scam were found dead.

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