Lucknow: With less than a year to go for the general elections, BSP bigwigs and former ministers Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha got embroiled in a Rs 1,410-crore scam on Monday. The UP Lokayukta has indicted them for wrong-doings in the buying of sandstone from Mirzapur used in five dalit memorials in Lucknow and Noida.
The Lokayukta also named 197 others, which makes the memorial scam among the larger ones to rock UP. The misappropriation was in the form of overspending of public money, said Lokayukta NK Mehrotra, who also called for a CBI inquiry, or one by any other agency not controlled by the state government. Mehrotra also called for special trial courts.
The Lokayukta, who handed over his 88-page report to CM Akhilesh Yadav, exonerated former CM Mayawati for lack of evidence and said there was no proof against any bureaucrat either.
However, the 199 people indicted include BSP MLA Ramesh Chandra Dubey and two former BSP MLAs — Anil Kumar Maurya and Sharda Prasad. The other indictees are two advocates, 57 engineers, 20 consortiums, 60 marble supply firms, 37 accountants and eight others.
The report expresses dissatisfaction over two Economic Offences Wing reports for their silence on the involvement of 37 accountants of Lucknow Nirman Nigam. The Lokayukta report recommends the filing of FIRs against 19 people, including the two former ministers, former Nirman Nigam MD CP Singh, joint director (mining) S A Farooqui and 15 engineers who fixed the rate for the purchase of sandstone from Mirzapur. Justice Mehrotra said there was no need of any further open investigation and criminal investigation on the FIR should be completed within six months.
The Lokayukta said besides documentary evidences, CP Singh and Farooqui had stated during their testimony that all decisions were taken at the residences of Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha. Similarly, Kushwaha said all major decisions were taken by Siddiqui while the second-in-command in the Mayawati government told the Lokayukta that all decisions were taken at government level. “I believe the government obviously includes ministers, as Siddiqui was heading the nirman nigam while Kushwaha was heading mining, hence they were directly responsible,” said Justice Mehrotra.
The Lokayukta said when the construction work began, the rate of pink stone was between Rs 40 and Rs 50 per cubic feet. The contractors, engineers and consortiums, however, fixed the rate at Rs 150 per cubic feet claiming this was the rate; the Lokayukta added that assuming that the rate might have increased from Rs 50 to Rs 100 per cubic feet; there was still overcharging by Rs 50. The overspending of over Rs 1,410 crore was computed on the extra Rs 50 , said Justice Mehrotra.
In the report, the Lokayukta also recommended recovery of 30% of the amount from the two ministers, 15% each from CP Singh and SA Farooqui and 15 engineers and 5% each from the accountants.
TIMES NEWS NETWORK