New Delhi: Four fresh cases were registered by the CBI on Friday in connection with alleged embezzlement of funds under National Rural Health Mission by the then Chief Medical Officers in collusion with private drug suppliers to procure sub-standard medicines at exhorbitant rates.

The agency officials carried out searches across 30 locations in 22 districts of Uttar Pradesh including Lucknow, Varanasi, Meerut, Behraich and Balia at the residences and offices of CMOs, shops of drug suppliers among others, CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said.

"The allegations are of gross irregularities and manipulation in award of contracts by CMOs to various private parties. It has been found that there were group of private parties which were active in number of Districts and through their influence on public servants procured contracts of huge amounts in various districts," Mishra said.

CBI has found in its preliminary enquiry that Mission Directorate of NRHM in Uttar Pradesh had received thousands of crores of rupees as funds between 2005-11 for running schemes like Mission Flexipool, Immunization, Reproductive Child Health (RCH), National Blindness Control Programme etc.

Besides funds for civil construction and upgradation of hospitals were also received by them.

"The funds under the said scheme were channelled to the respective District Health Societies of all the districts in Uttar Pradesh and were utilised by the respective CMOs/ CMO/ Family Welfare). The enquiry carried out so far has indicated that the drugs/equipments supplied by these firms were at exorbitant rates and even of sub-standard quality," she said.