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 (MHA) 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 a 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.
UP govt to seek more time from SC
The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to make an appeal before the Supreme Court seeking at least 20 days extra time to finish the fresh tender process for installation of high security registration plates in the state. While Supreme court had given April 30 as the deadline to all the states to complete the tender process for installation of such number plates,the award of contract given to Utsch India Private Ltd in Uttar Pradesh was cancelled on the directions of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court,which also ordered a CBI inquiry into the entire process.
The decision was taken after the first meeting of the high-powered committee on Monday and appeal would be made by the UP Transport Department. The high powered committee was formed by the state government to take up the fresh tender process in accordance with the directions of the High Court. We taking up the entire process at a fast pace but in order to follow all the laid guidelines of a tender process,we would need at least one month to take up proper procedure informed a senior government officer,adding that they would try to complete the process by mid-May.