The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday attached assets worth Rs 1 crore belonging to three engineers involved with the over Rs 1,500-crore Gomti River Front Project in Lucknow.
The Central agency is probing alleged money laundering through irregularities in the project, which was launched by the previous Uttar Pradesh government, led by Akhilesh Yadav.
The case was one of the first referred by the Yogi Adityanath government to the CBI for a probe after it came to power. The ED had filed a criminal case under the PMLA in March 2018.
An ED statement said, “ED has attached five immovable properties of worth Rs 1 crore approximately under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002… Attached properties include one plot of Roop Singh Yadav, three plots of Anil Yadav, and one residential flat of S N Sharma, all engineers engaged in the project.”
In January, the agency had carried out searches at multiple locations across four states in connection with the case. Sources said searches were conducted at the premises of various accused and their associates in Lucknow, Noida, Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan.
“During investigation, searches were conducted wherein incriminating evidence relating to mode, amount and manner of payment of bribes to certain engineers, namely Roop Singh Yadav, Anil Yadav and S N Sharma were seized. It is revealed that the bribe amounts were collected from contractors who had made the payments to these engineers by withdrawing the amounts from the bank accounts and subsequently paying the engineers in cash and also through banking transactions,” the ED statement said.
The agency claimed its probe has “revealed that the accused engineers used the financial profile of their wives to channelise, place, layer, and project illegally earned money by the misuse of the Voluntary Undisclosed Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 …”
The Gomti River Project was touted by the erstwhile government as Akhilesh Yadav’s dream project. It was, however, debated hotly during the 2017 Assembly elections in the state, with the opposition alleging corruption.
After coming to power, Adityanath was reportedly briefed that of the total allocation of Rs 1,513 crore, 95 per cent (Rs 1,435 crore) had already been spent, yet less than 60 per cent of the work had been completed.