Lokayukta to probe minister’s role in PWD contracts to kin

Ramveer Upadhyay’s sister-in-law Kalpana Sharma and his representative Ashish Sharma have been given as many as 154 contracts by the PWD in the last five years.

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow | Published:February 10, 2012 3:01 am

UP Energy Minister Ramveer Upadhyay’s sister-in-law Kalpana Sharma and his representative Ashish Sharma have been given as many as 154 contracts by the PWD in the last five years,according to information given to Lokayukta NK Mehrotra by the executive engineer of the PWD Hathras division.

The Lokayukta is probing allegations of acquiring benami properties,amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income and influencing awarding of the PWD contracts against the minister.

In an affidavit submitted to the Lokayukta on Thursday,executive engineer SK Verma said that 154 out of 1,572 contracts given by PWD Hathras division in last five years had been awarded to Kalpana and Ashish.

The Lokayukta,in his investigation,has found that 90 per cent of these contracts which were given to Sharma and Kalpana through short-term tenders and Sharma was awarded most of the contracts at more than the departmental rate. Also,in most of the contracts given to Sharma and Kalpana,there was either a single bidder or just two bidders.

Mehrotra found that in many of the contracts,the agreements were made after more than a month from the day of awarding the contract.

According to the executive engineer’s report,in one of the contracts for making a cemented drain,the bids were invited between January 28 and February 15,2008,and Sharma was the only bidder for the contract of Rs 4.79 crore. He was awarded the contract at a rate which was 12.90 per cent higher than the departmental rate.

The Lokayukya,who is investigating allegations levelled in a complaint lodged by Ashwini Sharma of Hathras,has asked all the sellers and donors,who were alleged to have sold or bought the benami properties for the minister,to provide the details of their properties along with the sale deeds.

On Tuesday,the Lokayukta received the reply from one of the persons who had reportedly sold his land in Hathras to Ritu Upadhyay,the minister’s another daughter-in-law. The seller named Hanuman Poddar said he had sold 0.616 hectare of his total 4.790 hectare land to Ritu for Rs 15 lakh on September 23,2009.

Poddar stated that he had got this land converted from agricultural into abadi in 2006 but the land was again converted into agricultural on August 13,2009 by SDM of Hathras without any request from him,just about a month before the land was sold to Ritu,in order to evade stamp duty. He said that according to the circle rate,his land was worth more than Rs 3 crore.

Mehrotra said Poddar had informed that Ritu had also grabbed about 3,000 sq metre of his land,for which he had complained to the District Magistrate,but no action was taken.

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