UP minister indicted by Lokayukta in 2002

Rajaram Pandey ‘grabbed’ 24 bighas of land in 2000,matter pending in High Court

Written by Faisal Fareed | Lucknow | Published: May 14, 2012 1:06 am

The Samajwadi Party had made indictment of ministers by the Lokayukta a major issue against the Mayawati government during the just concluded Assembly elections. However after coming to power,Akhilesh Yadav chose a person as a minister in his cabinet who was indicted by the Lokayukta for misuse of authority as a minister way back in 2002.

Justice (retired) S C Verma,then Lokayukta,had said that Rajaram Pandey,now Minister of Khadi and Village Industries,had grabbed land by taking the law into his hand,and that his conduct was unbecoming of a public servant. While Pandey is now again a minister,the man whose land he had allegedly grabbed — Kunwar Shivdev Singh — is still fighting for justice in the Allahabad High Court.

Late in 2000,Pandey was a minister in Rajnath Singh-led BJP government. According to Singh,Pandey had grabbed his land in Molnapur village in Patti tehsil of Pratapgarh district,but the administration paid no heed to his complaint under the minister’s influence. Singh then lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta on December 20,2000.

Singh said he owned 24 bighas of land,of which he had sold 4 bighas to villagers Phoolchand and Binda Gupta,and given another 4 bighas to Phoolchand and Bhagauti on contract. Pandey acquired both pieces of land through sale deeds in the name of his wife Kusum Pandey and son Sanjay Pandey. Later,he took possession of the entire 24 bighas on November 24,2000.

In a report to the then chief minister on January 30,2002,Lokayukta Justice (retired) S C Verma held Pandey guilty of misusing his ministerial position for land grabbing. He also recommended action against the then District Magistrate of Pratapgarh Vijay Prakash,then SP Pramod Kumar,ASP P K Mishra and Patti SDM Anil Kumar Upadhyay for conniving with Pandey.

The Lokayukta stated that Pandey pressurised revenue officials,and grabbed the land by using fear and taking the law in his hands. Further,he had unleashed a reign of terror and no one was ready to speak against him. Pandey’s conduct was unbecoming of a public servant,the Lokayukta held.

As for the local administration’s role,the Lokayukta said that District Magistrate Vijay Prakash did not take the matter seriously in right earnest and failed to present the complete facts during the inquiry,while SP Pramod Kumar did not act according to law. The Lokayukta said the then SDM Anil Kumar Upadhyay did nothing to prevent the incident despite having advance information about it.

The BJP government took no action on the Lokayukta’s report. On May 3,2002,Mayawati became chief minister and Pandey ceased to be a minister.

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