Stating that a total of Rs 1,410 crore was siphoned off by politicians and government officials in the purchase and supply of pink sandstone for the construction of various memorials and parks in Lucknow and Noida during the previous BSP government,Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta N K Mehrotra on Monday recommended that FIRs be lodged against former public works department minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui and former mining minister Babu Singh Kushwaha and other government officials for the alleged corruption.
The Lokayukya,however,said no evidence was found indicating the involvement of former chief minister Mayawati in the irregularities.
In his report submitted to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday,Mehrotra recommended that 19 people,including Siddiqui,Kushwaha,and C P Singh,then managing director of Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (RNN),the state government agency that handled the construction of the memorials and parks,be booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act,IPC sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 120 B (conspiracy). He also recommended an investigation by either the CBI or a Special Task Force. The investigating agency should complete its investigation within six months and the cases related to irregularities be tried at a special court,he added.
The Lokayukta said the assets amassed by another 180 persons,including the RNN engineers,Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) engineers,officials of Mining Department,sandstone suppliers,two former MLAs Sharda Prasad and Anil Maurya,and Ramesh Chandra Dubey who is currently a Samajwadi Party MLA,should also be inquired into for getting benefits in the supply of sandstone.
He further recommended that Rs 1,410 crore that has been siphoned off by the politicians and government officials should also be recovered from them as per legal process.
In his 10-month inquiry,the Lokayukta found that out of the total Rs 4,148 crore shown spent in the construction of memorials and parks,as much as 34 per cent of it was siphoned off.
The sandstone was purchased at exorbitant rates without any market survey or competitive bidding. The sandstone which was available at Rs 50 to Rs 75 per cubic foot was bought at Rs 150 cubic foot by the RNN,the report said.
Where the quarry lease-holders were paid Rs 1,890 for supplying and furnishing one cubic foot of sandstone in Lucknow,but the same lease-holders later supplied one cubic foot furnished sandstone at just Rs 1,050 after the Noida authority officials objected to the rates.
Mahrotra said the officials showed that the sandstone was carried to Rajasthan for furnishing after being quarried in UP,with transportation charges also paid to the suppliers. However,there are no records available showing that the sandstone went to Rajasthan. The Lokayukta recommended inquiry and lodging of FIRs against 60 sandstone supplier firms.
While Kushwaha,in his statement,claimed that the construction of memorials was supervised by Siddiqui,the latter stated that all the decisions were taken at the government level,the Lokayukta added.