UP Lokayukta N K Mehrotra on Wednesday held the Mayawati governments most powerful minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui,who holds 12 Cabinet portfolios like PWD,Excise and Health,and his wife Husna Siddiqui,who is a BSP MLC,prima facie guilty of money laundering and misuse of their posts and recommended an inquiry by the CBI or the Enforcement Directorate against both under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Mehrotra made the recommendation in a report to Chief Minister Mayawati. He sought an action-taken report within one month from her. The governments reaction was not immediately available.
In his 929-page report,the Lokayukta has recommended for inquiry transactions through which Siddiquis relatives bought properties in Lucknow,Barabanki,Banda and Jyotiba Phule Nagar. Mehrotra found that Husna and their other family members bought lands at less than market rate to evade stamp duty.
Mehrotra held that Siddiqui and his wife have amassed disproportionate assets. He found that the total income of Siddiqui and his wife in last four years,according to their income tax returns,was Rs 1.97 crore,including Rs 1,24,70,759 of Husna and Rs 73,14,437 of Naseemuddin Siddiqui. But,in the same period,they had bought properties worth more than Rs 50 crore through benami transactions.
Holding Husnas trust QF Educational Institute a dummy for money laundering,the Lokayukta recommended an inquiry into all its transactions.
The report said while Husna had informed that the total donations received by the institute since its inception in 2006 were Rs 1.82 crore,the office of Registrar Chits,Funds and Societies provided to his office the balance sheet showing donations at Rs 3.62 crore. The donations had been made by about 300 persons,many of whom have been shown as residents outside UP.
Mehrotra said the QF Educational Institute existed only on paper,without any functional office,and was being used for money laundering by Husna who is its secretary
When I called the chairperson of the institute Seema Agnihotri for inquiry,she sent a letter stating she had resigned, said Mehrotra. Seemas brother Pankaj and Sanjay who appeared before Lokayukta said that they did not know anything about the institutes functioning and its office.
Mehrotra found that Husna,through the institute,had bought 57 bigha land for Rs 46.32 lakh in Nindora village of Barabanki district while the real value of the land,according to the ADMs report,was Rs 16.39 crore. The land had been sold by Amouli Ceramics Private Limited and Amouli Oil and Fats Limited whose director is KK Mishra,and Prime Petro Product Limited whose chairman is RK Mishra.
The Lokayukta recommended an inquiry into all land sales in Nindora village during last four years. He said land was bought as benami by Husnas trust.
The Lokayukta said the ministers relatives also bought properties at less than the market rate to evade stamp duty. One of these properties is two hectare land in Ladakapurwa village of Banda,bought in 2008 by Upma Gupta,wife of an Irrigation Department engineer Krishna Chand Gupta who is currently on deputation with UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam at Kanpur.
Three weeks later,Upma sold the land to Akrami Begam and Arsh Siddiqui in two parts at Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2.50 lakh. However,the land is actually worth Rs 3.60 crore. Akrami Begam and Arsh are wife and daughter-in-law of the ministers brother Zamiruddin.
The ministers son Afzal Siddiqui runs a meat factory,named AQ Frozen Food Private Limited,in Dhanoura tehsil of Jyotiba Phule Nagar district. In a report,the district magistrate has informed the Lokayukta that Afzal had acquired 4.289 hectare land for the factory through benami transactions and also grabbed nearby 2.827 hectare land.
Another piece of agricultural land in Tindwari tehsil of Banda was bought by Husna at Rs 4.50 lakh while the value of land as per circle rate was about Rs 1 crore. Husna also bought a 16,500 sq metre bungalow in Lucknow Cantonment area for Rs 50 lakh but the value of the property as per circle rate was more than Rs 90 lakh.
Stating that the minister influenced distribution of benefits under the Bundelkhand package,the Lokayukta found that the several applications pertaining to award of tractors,thrashers and cultivators were missing. He said the policy of ‘First come,first served, which could be easily manipulated,was used for distribution and the guidelines of the Centre were violated.
The selection committee formed for overseeing the distribution did not discharge its duties as several tractors and other machines were awarded to Siddiquis relartives.
A complaint against Siddiqui and his wife was lodged by Lucknow-based journalist JN Shukla. The Lokayukta is investigating two more complaints of corruption against Siddiqui.