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Gomti riverfront development ‘scam’: CBI arrests retired engineer and irrigation dept official

According to the central agency, the irregularities occurred during the implementation of the Gomti river channelisation project, and the Gomti riverfront development project.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow | November 21, 2020 10:29:19 am

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday arrested a former superintendent engineer and a senior assistant of the state irrigation department in connection with alleged corruption and anomalies in the Gomti riverfront development project, which was launched by the previous Samajwadi Party government.

The CBI started investigating the case following a recommendation of the Yogi Adityanath government in 2017. These are the first arrests in the case.

Those held were identified as retired superintendent engineer Roop Singh Yadav, who retired in 2017, and senior assistant Raj Kumar Yadav. They were produced in a local court here that sent them to police custody till November 24, said a CBI officer.

According to the central agency, the irregularities occurred during the implementation of the Gomti river channelisation project, and the Gomti riverfront development project. Funds were allegedly diverted and tenders were allegedly pooled in four major works of the riverfront project, namely the construction of a diaphragm wall, the construction of an intercepting trunk drain, the construction of a rubber dam and the preparation of vision documents. The CBI contends that the accused favoured some contractors, and executed the agreements with them using forged documents.

After the BJP came to power in the state in 2017, a  team of senior officials reviewed the project. According to it, only 60 per cent of the work was completed even though 95 per cent of the Rs 1,500 crore allocated for the project was spent. At the time it was executed, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav was the irrigation minister. Samajwadi Party chief and then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav took over the ministry in September 2016 after Shivpal was removed from the Cabinet because of a family feud.

Following the review, the BJP government expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of the work, and directed Justice (retd) Alok Kumar Singh to conduct an inquiry. The inquiry report was submitted to the government on May 16, 2017.

Based on the judicial probe’s findings, an FIR was lodged on June 19, 2017, at the Gomti Nagar police station here against eight engineers. The police also invoked the Prevention of Corruption Act against the accused.

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