The contract for the high security number plates,which the Akhilesh Yadav government cancelled on Sunday on the directions of the Allahabad High Court verdict,was awarded by the previous Mayawati government to a company whose managing director was an accused along with gangster Babloo Srivastava in a murder case and against whom the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a circular following reports of his alleged involvement in dubious activities.
The judgment,which was delivered last week,describes the tailor-made arrangements to award the contract to Shimnit Utsch India Pvt Ltd, at rates three to four times higher than in neighbouring Bihar. It notes that the contract was awarded after a meeting in the office of the Cabinet Secretary. Shashank Shekhar Singh,Mayawatis most trusted official,was the then the cabinet secretary. Justices Devi Prasad Singh and S C Chaurasia,who delivered the judgment,said: At every stage of the proceedings,coupled with the cabinet decision and the meeting held in the office of the cabinet secretary,there has been deliberate dishonest and malicious action to award the contract in favour of the opposite party no 3 (the company).
At another place,the bench observed,The evidence and material on record prima facie make out a case of misfeasance in public office and collusive act involving constitutional functionaries,bureaucrats and persons working in the office of the Legal Remembrancer.
Interestingly,three states had earlier cancelled the contracts of Shimnit Utsch India Pvt Ltd following detection of irregularities and illegalities. The company hid this information from the UP government. Even after the Mayawati government came to know about it,it went ahead and favoured the firm. The court ordered a CBI inquiry into the matter,seizure of the companys security deposit and imposed fines of Rs 25 lakh each on the company and the government.