18 ministers of the BSP government are under the scanner of the special investigation bureau (SIB) of the state police's cooperative cell probing into the multi crore labour and construction co-operative federation (LACCFED) scam.
The SIB has already collected evidence against former panchayati raj minister Babu Singh Kushwaha, former higher education minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi and former secondary education minister Rangnath Mishra.
Notices have been issued to Kushwaha and Tripathi. On Monday, the SIB issued notice to Mishra too.
The then chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta may also be summoned to explain why he issued order nominating LACCFED as the construction agency.
On May 24, 2010, Gupta had issued a government order (GO) stating that LACCFED had been nominated as the government construction agency on the provisional basis for one year.
The agency can take up projects worth Rs. 5 crore.
On November 2, 2011, the then chief secretary Anoop Mishra issued a GO stating that nomination of LACCFED as a government construction agency had been extended for one year.
Fund was released to LACCFED for the construction of the 24 schools in 14 districts.
The secondary education department allocated Rs. 59 lakh for the construction of each school building.
SIB officer said, “the secondary education minister charged cuts for releasing the amount”.
The SIB has planned to grill Babu Singh Kushwaha and former BSP MLA Ram Prasad Jaiswal in Ghaziabad district jail.
Tripathi and Mishra have been directed to appear in the SIB office in Lucknow.
Evidence related to the involvement of the then basic education minister Dharam Singh Saini too is there. “We would issue summon to Saini soon,” an SIB officer said.
The officer told HT that 18 state government departments had released fund to LACCFED for various projects.
"We have probed into the working of panchayati raj, cooperative, higher education, secondary education and basis education departments. As the probe advanced, the involvement of the ministers in the scam was unearthed. We are yet to start full-fledged probe into the working of the remaining departments. But preliminary probe indicates that the then ministers of the remaining 13 departments were also involved in the racket."
The then general manager of LACCFED Pankaj Tripathi, chief engineer GS Srivastava and account officer AK Agarwal were grilled by the SBI sleuths recently.
The officers have, it is learnt, spilled the beans and told the sleuths about the involvement of the ministers, bureaucrats, engineers and bank officers in the scam.
But how the SIB team zeroed in on the ministers? It was the demand of the 10% commission in the fund released by the respective departments that exposed the involvement of the ministers in the scam.
“It is a practice in all the 18 departments that 10% of the fund would go into the kitty of the minister,” the SIB officer said.
Initially, the SIB was told to probe into Rs. 12.36 crore bungling.
“As the probe progresses, it is turning out to be a scam running into several hundred crores,” an officer said and added the role of the bank officials was also under scanner. How the bank officers cleared the cheques of Rs 20 lakh to Rs 50 lakh in violation of the RBI guideline. Even the enforcement directorate was not informed about the clearance of hefty amount through bearer cheques by the bank, the SIB officer said.