NRHM corruption case: Life imprisonment for prime accused for killing 2 chief medical officers

Anand Prakash Tiwari was the hired shooter

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A special court has handed over a life sentence to the prime accused in a long-running case which underscored the corruption in the National Rural Health Mission in the state. 

On Wednesday, a CBI court in Lucknow pronounced a lifer for Anand Prakash Tiwari for two cases in which FIRs were registered in October 2010 and April 2011. In both, the then chief medical officers Vinod Arya and Brahma Prasad Singh were murdered while on their morning walks. 

In both cases, chargesheets were filed in April 2013. 

The court of Justice Anurodh Mishra pronounced, “The said case does not come in the rarest of rare category…(as it is) based on circumstantial evidence…and the main accused does not have a criminal history…” It has also been noted that punishment given should not just be for the severity of the crime but also bear in mind if there was no scope for improvement in the convict.  

The murders were spawned by the misappropriation of funds meant for NRHM. One former CMO, A.K. Shukla and a deputy CMO, Y.S. Sachan were the initial suspects believed to have planned the murders to cover up the scam. While Shukla was later released on bail, Sachan was found dead inside his jail cell.  

Tiwari was the shooter who executed the killings. He has been convicted under Sections 302 and 304 of the Indian Penal Code. 

Among the accused was also Babu Singh Kushwaha, family welfare minister in the then Mayawati-led government. The highest-ranking official charged in the scam is Pradeep Shukla, principal secretary of health and family welfare. 

Such was the infamy of the scam, in which money was distributed to CMOs across the state, that PM Manmohan Singh had accused the state government of misusing funds meant for the scheme. The scheme’s focus on creating infrastructure had allowed siphoning off money by contractors, builders, and officers in charge and putting up shoddy facilities in turn.  

The now (renamed) health mission has an allocation of Rs 31,967 crores for 2024-25 in the state. As per a CAG report, between April 2005 and March 2011; more than Rs 5,500 crores from the NRHM budget were unaccounted for.

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