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Two ex-Ministers among 199 indicted in U.P. memorial scam

A file photo shows then Chief Minister Mayawati at the inauguration of Dalit Prerana Sthal at Noida near New Delhi on October 14,2011.

A file photo shows then Chief Minister Mayawati at the inauguration of Dalit Prerana Sthal at Noida near New Delhi on October 14,2011.  

The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati, was given a clean chit by Lokayukta N.K. Mehrotra for want of evidence even as 199 persons and firms, including two former Ministers — the then PWD Minister, Naseemuddin Siddiqui and the then Mining Minister, Babu Singh Kushwaha — were indicted by him in the Rs. 1,410 crore scam detected in the supply of pink sandstone from Mirzapur used in the construction of memorials and parks in Lucknow during the previous regime.

Mr. Kushwaha, who was also the Family Welfare Minister in the previous regime, was sacked by Ms. Mayawati in the wake of the CMO murders. He later joined the BJP.

The others indicted by the Lokayukta are two former BSP MLAs, Sharda Prasad and Anil Maurya, one sitting MLA, Ramesh Chandra Dubey, two advocates, eight public men, 57 engineers of U.P. Rajkiya Nirman Nigam Limited, five engineers of Lucknow Development Authority, 20 mining contractors, 60 marble supply firms and 37 accountants of U.P. Nirman Nigam.

Mr. Mehrotra, who submitted his 88-page report along with 1258 annexures to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday, has recommended an inquiry by an independent agency, either the CBI, or any other agency, not “under the State Government’s control.”

The Lokayukta, who detected large scale anomalies and financial irregularities in fixing the price, awarding the contracts and supply of sandstone during the course of the probe has recommended the setting up of special court for the prosecution of those allegedly involved in the scam.

A budget of Rs. 4276.83 crore was sanctioned for the purpose by the BSP regime, of which Rs. 4148.54 crore was spent and financial irregularities to the tune of Rs. 1410.50 crore (34 per cent) has been mentioned in the Lokayukta’s report.

For the recovery of money and causing a loss of Rs. 1410 crore to the State exchequer, the Lokayukta has said the property of those allegedly involved in the scam should be attached by moving an application in the court under Section 3 of Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 1944.

In fact, Mr. Mehrotra has fixed the quantum of recovery from those indicted: Naseemuddin Siddiqui – 30 per cent, Babu Singh Kushwaha – 30 per cent, former Managing Director of U.P. Nirman Nigam, C.P. Singh – 15 per cent, former Joint Director of Mining Directorate, S.A. Farooqui – 5 per cent, engineers who fixed the rates – 15 per cent and 37 Nirman Nigam accountants – 5 per cent.

The Lokayukta has also recommended that FIRs should be filed against these 19 persons. Besides, recovery from the supply firms should be made at the rate of Rs. 840 per sq.ft.

On the clean chit given to BSP president, the Lokayukta told reporters some persons who were cross-examined had stated that Ms. Mayawati had told them that building memorials in the names of “mahapurush” (read Dalit icons) was a “pavitra karya” (pious act) and should be done with honesty and dedication. Quoting the persons investigated, the Lokayukta said they told him that no orders were given by Ms. Mayawati.

However, in his report, the Lokayukta has mentioned that the former Chief Minister may have described it as a pious act, but her “PWD and Mining Ministers used the officers of departments and corporations under them for resorting to corrupt practices.” The inquiry in this case was referred by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister under Section 8 of Lokayukta Act. Notification was issued in April 2012. The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the U.P. police had also conducted a probe and submitted its report to the Lokayukta, which conducted the final inquiry.

Incidentally, the present Lokayukta had been appointed by the former Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh in 2007. His term expired in 2012 but was given an extension by his son, Akhilesh Yadav. Mr. Mehrotra had earlier served as Principal Secretary, Law.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 7:42:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/two-exministers-among-199-indicted-in-up-memorial-scam/article4733173.ece

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