Lucknow, 20 May:¬†The Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta has indicted nineteen people including an MLA from ruling Samajwadi Party, Ramesh Dube, former ministers and BSP General Secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui. This is in connection with siphoning off public funds of over Rs 1400 crore towards purchase and polishing of Mirzapur sandstone used in construction of parks and memorials. Those indicted include former BSP minister Babu Singh who is presently in jail. His was arrested in connection with the NRHM scam.
Out of Rs 4271.83 crore sanctioned during Mayawati regime, Rs 4188.54 crore was spent. At least 34 percent or Rs 1410.50 crore was allegedly siphoned off.
Retired Lokayukta Justice NK Mehrotra in his report said that no direct evidences against former Chief Minister Mayawati is found. He said, ‚ÄúDuring the investigation by Economic Offences Wing (EOW), several BSP officials pointed out that Mayawati had told her ministers Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha that the construction was a ‚Äėholy project‚Äô where memorials are to be constructed for the gurus of the BSP.‚ÄĚ
State government had referred the investigation into the alleged irregularities of construction of five memorials in July 2012. The government also placed the EOW of the UP police, under the Lokayukta for carrying out the investigation
On the role of IAS officers, Mehrotra said, ‚ÄúOfficers in-charge of the departments of PWD, housing and mining, abysmally failed in discharging their duties. Provisions of the financial handbook governing expenditure from state exchequer were flouted with¬†impunity.‚ÄĚ The report states that there is no record and minutes of the meetings presided by IAS officers in connection with execution of the five projects.
In his report, Justice Mehrotra said, ‚ÄúSamajwadi Party MLA Ramesh Dube along with two former BSP MLAs and two advocates acted as middleman in procurement of the sandstones.‚ÄĚ The Lokayukta has recommended assets of the persons be acquired and be scrutinised under Criminal Law (amendment) Ordinance 1944. The report also mentions that the allotment of lease of stone mines be cancelled.
NK Mehrotra recommended criminal proceedings under Prevention of Corruption Act. Ombudsman¬†¬† has also recommended to the state government to either refer the matter to the CBI or constitute a Special Task Force that should investigate within a specific time frame and lodge FIR. ¬†He has also recommended to the UP government to constitute a special court with the consent of the High Court for speedy trial of the indicted persons.
A total of 119 persons in different government agencies have been indicted by Lokayukta report.