Senior Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer Rakesh Bahadur will now head all the three industrial development authorities here in Noida, Gretaer Noida and Yamuna Expressway.
Nearly seven weeks after the state government removed Mohinder Singh from the post of chairman, Noida authority, it had on May 4 sent Bahadur as Singh's replacement. Simultaneously, the government had appointed Sanjeev Saran as Noida's chief executive officer.
The government on Monday gave Bahadur additional charges of chairman of Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway authorities. Till now, Rama Raman had been holding the posts of CEO and chairman of both Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway authorities. He will now be only CEO of the two authorities.
While Noida is a fully developed city, Greater Noida, which governs the trouble-hit area of Noida Extension, is poised for rapid development. The yet-to-be-opened Noida-Agra toll road and the Formula 1 race circuit are located in the proposed Yamuna township, where the authority and builders have launched several real estate projects. All the three authorities are facing land acquisition issues with farmers having moved court to reclaim their land.
Bahadur and Saran were posted as chairman and CEO, respectively, at the Noida authority during the last Samajwadi Party government which remained in power between 2003 and 2007. Both officers were considered close to then chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Two years after Mayawati came to power, her government in 2009 suspended and charge-sheeted the two and many others for alleged irregularities – alleged to be to the tune of more than Rs 4,000 crore – in allotment of plots for setting up of hotels in Noida ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The action was widely seen as a move to punish officers close to the previous dispensation. Even the current government has shunted out several officers in Noida and Greater Noida who enjoyed Mayawati's confidence.
The cancellation order was, however, challenged in the Allahabad High Court, which quashed it and asked the government to give the allottees personal hearing and then pass an order. But the government again cancelled the allotments after hearings. The allottees in July, 2011 moved the Supreme Court, which ruled that no nepotism, corruption or favouritism took place and upheld the allotment with certain riders.
But the two officers could be reinstated only on the eve of the last Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. The Mayawati government alleged officials put hotels under the “industry category” instead of the “commercial category and caused a loss of Rs 4,721 crore by selling commercial land at industrial sector rates and cancelled the allotment.
After a case was registered against current and former authority officials, including four IAS officers, the state government in 2009 suspended 16 officials. Days later, cases were lodged with sector 20 police station in Noida on a government order. The investigation has since been transferred to a specialised police wing.
The accused have got stay on their arrest from court.