Graft Poisons Uttar Pradesh’s Health System in India - NYTimes.com
LUCKNOW, India — The first doctor to die, a senior government health administrator, was shot on his morning walk last October by two men on a motorbike. Six months later, his successor, a cardiologist, was shot to death while out on a predawn stroll. A third government doctor, accused of conspiring to murder the first two, was found dead in jail in June, lying in a pool of blood with deep cuts all over his body.
The one thing the doctors had in common? All three had at one point been in charge of spending this city’s portion of the nearly $2 billion that has flowed to Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, as part of a nationwide push to improve the health of India’s poorest citizens.
The state’s health infrastructure remains abysmal, and officials say they now suspect that the murders resulted from a virulent combination of fast money, scant oversight and a notoriously graft-addled state political leadership. The last doctor to die, relatives say, was preparing to name names in a widening scandal. The central government has stepped in to investigate.
“When this much money is given to a government that is basically a criminal enterprise, violence cannot be ruled out,” said Kamini Jaiswal, a prominent lawyer who has filed several lawsuits in the case.
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