Lokayukta begins probe into sandstone purchase

Lokayukta N K Mehrotra today started investigation into the alleged anomalies in the supply and purchase of sandstone for construction of various parks and memorials in Lucknow and Noida by the previous BSP government led by Mayawati.

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow | Published: July 13, 2012 4:10 am

Lokayukta N K Mehrotra today started investigation into the alleged anomalies in the supply and purchase of sandstone for construction of various parks and memorials in Lucknow and Noida by the previous BSP government led by Mayawati.

He issued notices to four serving and former officials of the Directorate of Geology and Mines and Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (RNN),a state government undertaking,which handled the construction of parks and memorials.

The Lokayukta has issued notices to Director (Geology and Mines) Bhavnath for appearing before him on July 19,while RNN Managing Director A K Gupta has been called on July 24,along with all documents pertaining to supply and purchase of sandstone from Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts.

Notices have also been issued to two officials of Directorate of Geology and Mines — S A Farooqui,former advisor and joint director,and Rambodh Maurya,former director — who had allegedly asked the RNN to purchase sandstone from an illegal consortia formed by mining lease holders in the two districts. They have been asked to appear on July 25 and July 26,respectively.

The state government had last month asked the Lokayukta to probe the alleged illegalities and misuse of funds in the supply of sandstone between 2007 and 2011. Later,Mehrotra asked the state government to issue a notification under Section 18 of the UP Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta Act,empowering him to investigate the charges against those who are not public servants,so that he could probe the role of sandstone quarry leaseholders and suppliers. The state government issued the notification and also ordered that the Economic Offences Wing of UP Police will assist the Lokayukta.

The Lokayukta has been given the preliminary inquiry report of Directorate of Geology and Mines into the alleged anomalies in supply of sandstone and asked to probe the role of the officials of RNN,Lucknow Development Authority,which handled the construction of parks and memorials,Directorate of Geology and Mines,which asked the RNN to purchase sandstone from some consortia of mining lease holders based in Mirzapur and Sonbhadra.

As per the preliminary inquiry,then Joint Director in the Directorate of Geology and Mining S A Farooqui wrote a letter to the MD of RNN on July 10,2007,saying that the pink variety of sandstone found in Mirzapur had been chosen for constructions of parks and memorials,and directed RNN to make an agreement with Ms Shashi Shekhar Marble Corporation Ltd,Makrana,Rajasthan,for delivery of sandstone to Lucknow.

The preliminary report said the meeting between RNN officials and the owner of Ms Shashi Shekhar Marble Corporation Ltd,Makrana,was arranged by Farooqui and he also suggested the formation of a consortia of mining leaseholders from Mirzapur for easy availability of sandstone. The report said the formation of consortia was illegal as several of the mining leaseholders who formed these consortia had not renewed their mining licence in 2007. Mehrotra said the role of all the officials,including former PWD Engineer-in-Chief T Ram who is now a BSP MLA,will be probed for the payment of exorbitant prices to the sandstone suppliers.

The Lokayukta is also probing the charges of possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income against former RNN managing director C P Singh. Mehrotra said he had asked for a report of the work done by Singh from the Technical Audit Cell of PWD.

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