“They be transferred anywhere away from western U.P.”

In a huge embarrassment to the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday ordered immediate removal of two tainted IAS officers from key posts in Noida.

It also directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry into their appointment to these posts, their alleged wrongdoings, as well as all allegations of irregularities in land allotments in Noida since 2001.

A Division Bench of the Court comprising acting Chief Justice Amitava Lala and Justice Pradeep Kumar Singh Baghel also directed that the officers, Rakesh Bahadur and Sanjeev Saran, who are at present the Chairman and the CEO respectively of Noida, be transferred “anywhere away from western Uttar Pradesh”.

The Bench said their presence in the region could “affect the inquiry pending against them”.

The Court passed the order after hearing arguments from both sides as well as a perusal of the report of two advocates whom it had designated as “Special Officers” with a direction to visit Noida and collect all material relating to alleged irregularities in allotment of land in the city so far.

The Court also directed the CBI to submit its preliminary report on the investigations within six months.

The order was passed on a public interest litigation petition filed by a social organisation, Madhav Samaj Nirman Samiti, challenging the appointment of the two officers to their respective posts.

Significantly, the two bureaucrats had held the same posts during 2005-07, when SP supremo Mulayam Singh was the Chief Minister.

Their tenure was marred by controversy as there were allegations of prime land being sold to hoteliers at a throwaway prices and a consequent loss of revenue running into thousands of crores. The IAS officers had also been accused of having misappropriated a huge sum while facilitating these land deals and a case was registered against them in 2009 by the then Mayawati government which had kept them under suspension for close to three years.

However, soon after the SP returned to power earlier this year and the party supremo’s son Akhilesh Yadav became the Chief Minister, the two officers were re-appointed to the posts held by them though the inquiry against them was still pending. - PTI

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