iconimg Friday, September 04, 2015

M Tariq Khan, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, February 15, 2013
Almost nine months on, the probe into the construction of Bahujan Samaj Party and (BSP) memorials in Lucknow Noida seems to be getting nowhere. Let alone getting leads, sleuths of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) tasked with the inquiry are yet to cull even the basic information related to the construction of these memorials.

They are still at their wits end on the question as to who ultimately took the decision to build these ostentatious monuments. “We would like to know the name, designation and the correspondence address of the officer concerned and also a certified copy of the decision in black and white,” says the EOW’s missive to the housing department.

Since it obviously is not an open and shut case, the investigating agency pushes the envelope further and fires two other salvos from its arsenal seeking the details of the people who drafted the proposal related to these projects, the supervisory role and responsibility of the nodal officer and the copy of the order appointing the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) as the nodal agency for the job.

A similar questionnaire has been sent to the Rajkiye Nirman Nigam (RNN), an affiliate of the PWD, which also monitored and undertook construction work of these memorials.

A note at the end of the letter says the desired information should be made available in two days to the superintendent of police of EOW heading the probe with his office on the fifth floor of Indira Bhawan on Ashok Marg.

Both the PWD and housing department officials, who have been asked to gather this information from the two construction agencies and furnish it to the EOW, are equally clueless.

“We all know who the most trusted and devoted officials were at the helm of these projects. The irony is that while the associated bureaucrats are cooling their heels in nondescript departments, some equally high profile technocrats who gave shape to these memorials were never better off. Reason: they are no more in government service,” said a senior official requesting anonymity.

In fact, post retirement former PWD engineer in-chief Tribhuvan Ram and RNN managing director, CP Singh were given a two-year extension precisely to carry out this task. While Ram is now a BSP MLA, Singh, till recently was acting as the technical advisor to the Uttarakhand chief minister, a post that carries minister of state rank.

“They sought and were granted safe sanctuary by the previous BSP regime. That’s understandable. What beats me is the manner in which the state government accepted the voluntary retirement plea of LDA joint director SB Mishra, the man who singlehandedly oversaw most of the construction work,” said a senior housing official.

He said the state government paved way for Mishra’s voluntary retirement despite LDA Vice Chairman Rajiv Aggarwal’s view to the contrary on the ground that being an important link he may be required for questioning by investigating agencies. “It’s not as if we won’t be able to get to him now. But certainly as a government servant we wouldn’t have to look up and search for his whereabouts,” said an officer.

He said this was why they couldn’t get information on these people despite several reminders todepartments where they once served.