The Rajasthan Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested IAS officer Niraj K Pawan over alleged corruption and irregularities in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), when he was posted as the director at the IEC component of the mission. The arrest came 12 days after the bureau booked Pawan and four others for soliciting bribes and manipulating work orders under the NRHM. Besides, Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) officer and Pawan’s former’s deputy Anil Agarwal was also arrested, said ACB IG V K Singh.
Held under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the duo will be presented before a magistrate Tuesday. Three others, including a middleman and two government employees, have already been arrested by the bureau. Acting on a complaint it received last December, the ACB had earlier this month raided the residence and offices of Pawan, two other officials and a middleman, in connection with a multicrore system of bribes and tender manipulation under the NRHM. IAS officer Pawan, currently Commissioner of the agriculture department, is alleged to have received kickbacks worth crores when he was the director of NRHM-IEC, through a middleman Ajit Soni.
Two other officials — Additional Director Anil Agarwal and Chief Accounts Officer Deepa Gupta — and department store keeper Josy Varghese were also alleged to have been a part of this “racket which continued for at least a year and a half”. There were rumours about Pawan’s arrest the same day the ACB busted the alleged racket on May 18. However, while the officer was not arrested, the bureau had called him in consistently for questioning. The state government had put Pawan under the Awaiting Posting Order category following the charges.
News Source: The Indian Express