IN A damage control move, the one-member probe panel appointed by the State Government in the Jankipuram land scam has expedited its inquiry into a bid to preempt a parallel probe by the CBI in the matter.
On Friday, higher education secretary Rajiv Kumar spent over six hours in the LDA going through the property records and cross-examining five suspended officials related to the case. Those questioned in this connection included former Allahabad Development Authority Secretary, RN Singh, PCS officers Sripal Verma and Misri Lal Paswan, assistant property officer Ram Pyare and under secretary Ram Prakash Singh. Former LDA joint secretary SB Bharti, who could not turn up is expected to do so on Tuesday.
Kumar has again called these officials on Saturday. The new-found zeal with which the government appointed probe panel has taken up the task it was assigned at the beginning of the year has baffled LDA officials. One version is that since three of those suspended in the scam are due to retire on December 31 this year, they had approached the Supreme Court with the plea that the ongoing probe should be completed before that. This includes RN Singh, Sripal Verma and property officer Babu Ram. “The apex court asked the panel to complete its investigation within four months (by December end),” said a source adding that an inquiry report into the lapses, irregularities and action taken thereof against the officials in the matter would be ready by mid-December.
“The government wants to utilise this action taken report to deflect the ongoing CBI probe lest more skeletons should tumble out of its cupboard in the land scam,” he pointed out. Here it pertinent to mention that authorities have been ill at ease ever since the Allahabad High Court asked the CBI to inquire into the Jankipuram property scam in which 123 plots were fraudulently sold by land sharks in connivance with the LDA officials.
The matter had hit headlines when following unearthing of the scam CM Mulayam Singh Yadav suspended 14 LDA officials, including two PCS officers on January 31. But these were merely cogs in the wheel. The roots of the rip-off went deeper and apparently involved big fish given its magnitude. Not surprisingly therefore, while the issue was considered closed from the government point of view after the suspension of 14 officials, the Allahabad High Court had a different opinion on the matter. On February 21, it ordered the CBI to delve deeper into the scam.
In July, the CBI submitted an interim report before the Allahabad HC seeking more time to complete its investigation.