There was a virtual scramble among the buyers for a prime piece of land at Noida during the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government, yet the officials seem to not think it appropriate to fix the rate of the land and have sold land to the entrepreneurs, builders, people, trusts and organizations at different rates.
While some got land at high rates, the favourites were allotted land at throwaway prices, the probe so far into the multi-crore Noida farmhouse scam has revealed. Lokayukta NK Mehrotra, who visited Noida on August 29 to probe the scam, told HT, "The Noida officials had not fixed any rate of the land. Instead of the authority, the officers decided the rate according to their whims and fancy. While the state exchequer suffered losses, the officers made quick money."
After his return, the lokayukta had dispatched 24 questions to the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Noida Authority Sanjeev Saran, over the allotment of the land. "I am studying the reply of the CEO and will visit Noida again on Thursday (September 6)," said Mehrotra adding, "More queries are being sent to the CEO to clear the doubts over the allotment."
Acting on the report of present chairman of Noida Rakesh Bahadur, the state government had ordered a probe into the farmhouse scam. “I have urged Rakesh Bahadur to submit all the documents related to the allotment of the farmhouse, including names of the companies and individuals who benefited from the allotment,” the lokayukta said.
"The focus of my probe is on three points, what was the basis of the evaluation of the rate of the land, why no policy was framed by the authority for the allotment and why land was allotted to more than one company?" the lokayukta said.
"Prima facie it looks that rate fixing as well as the allotment were done in an illegal manner," Mehrotra said and added, "a conspiracy was hatched by the then Noida Authority officers to allot the land to their favourites".
A report was also prepared by the then additional CEO of Noida Anil Rajkumar on the irregularities in the of the rate of the land that had been fixed. The Supreme Court and Allahabad High Court also took note of the irregularities and issued orders but the officers ignored the orders.
The lokayukta said the consultant UPICO hired by the Authority for allotment of the land was also under the scanner. The consultant had examined the files related to the allotment before the authority gave final approval. “I have summoned the officers of UPICO to get their version,” Mehrotra said.