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Gomti project: CBI conducts raids in 40 locations in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal

Central Bureau of Investigation HQ, in New Delhi. File  

The CBI on Monday searched over 40 locations in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal in a corruption case against 17 officials of Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department and 172 others, including companies and their owners, for alleged irregularities in the execution of the Gomti River Front Project during 2014-17.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav was the Chief Minister when the project was implemented.

The accused in the ranks of junior assistant, principal assistant, assistant engineer, executive engineer, superintending engineer and Chief Engineer had employed largely three methods to indulge in corruption.

In many cases, the Notice Inviting Tenders were not published in newspapers as required. Tenders were awarded by officials on the recommendation of tender committees headed by themselves. To establish that procedures were followed in awarding the tenders to the lowest bidders, forged documents in the name of other companies were submitted to show them as competitive bidders.

The FIR is an offshoot of a preliminary inquiry instituted on November 30, 2017, to probe the irregularities committed while implementing the “Gomti River Channelisation Project” and the “Gomti River Front Development” in Lucknow.

The cost of the project — which started in 2014-15 and continued till March 31, 2017, was pegged at ₹1,513 crore, of which ₹1,437 crore was spent.

During the enquiry, several companies shown as “L2/L3” bidders told the agency that they had neither bought the tender forms nor submitted any documents to apply for the contracts.

While 12 project related works involving ₹1,031 crore were probed by the agency as part of the first case registered in November 2017, the remaining 661 works worth ₹407 crore were taken up during the enquiry.

In the earlier case, the agency recently filed a chargesheet against then Executive Engineer Roop Singh Yadav and then junior assistant (Irrigation Works) Raj Kumar Yadav, who have also been arraigned in the latest case. They were arrested by the CBI on November 19, 2020.

Ineligible private firm

In that case, the officials had awarded the work to an ineligible private firm. The date of tender was twice extended to accommodate the company. Forged documents of another company were arranged to project it as a bidder and complete the required quorum of three participants in the tender.

The bank guarantee of the L-2 firm was allegedly prepared from the bank account of the L-1 company. Several other alleged irregularities were detected, the CBI alleged.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 5:12:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cbi-registers-fresh-case-in-gomti-river-front-project-irregularities-searches-at-over-40-locations/article35142515.ece

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