In the land-allotment case in which Uttar Pradesh former chief secretary Neera Yadav and top official of Flex companies Ashok Chaturvedi were sentenced to four years' imprisonment by a CBI designated court at Ghaziabad, the witness of 1985 batch IAS officer Prabhat Kumar proved crucial and was termed as 'very important' in its judgement by the court.
The 73-page judgement passed by CBI special judge AK Singh at Ghaziabad on Tuesday, revealed the 'hidden motive' behind the entire conspiracy of allotment of 28,000 sq metres of land to Flex Companies during Yadav's tenure as chairman and chief executive officer at Noida during 1994-95.
In the CBI charge-sheet, Yadav was charged for bringing out a new land allotment scheme, with relaxed eligibility conditions, to accommodate two Flex group companies.
In his statement before the court during the trial, witness Prabhat Kumar, who also served as deputy CEO at Noida Authority (NA) from January 1996 to April 1997, stated that the corporate group housing scheme launched for allotment of land was an open ended scheme and had no ending date.
"In its response, a total of seven applicants applied and without the examination of applications and closure of scheme, it was held that the scheme had insufficient response. So the land rates were reduced from R1,600 per sq metres to R1,200 per sq metres," Kumar said in his statement, adding, "A new scheme was opened on October 22, 1994, and published in newspapers. The applications of two Flex companies were received on old forms and accepted on October 20, processed on October 21 and passed on October 22."
Kumar, explaining the term 'hidden motive' behind the allotment, said in his statements that, "the allotment of land to the two units was done in such a hurry that was beyond my understanding".
In all, a total of 11 witnesses appeared before the court in the case against Yadav and Chaturvedi. "It was a difficult case to prove charges against the two accused as several of the witnesses had turned hostile as they were subordinate officers," a CBI source said.
The CBI judge AK Singh, in his orders, termed Kumar's witness as 'very important' being an administrative officer. "This 'hidden motive' was linked to the criminal conspiracy which was done in a secretive manner," the court stated in its order.
Further, statements of witness Bharat Singh, a CBI investigating officer, also proved crucial in bringing to light the entire conspiracy behind the land allotment.