Former higher education minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi has denied charges that he took a Rs. 4-crore cut from LACCFED officers to release fund for construction of a college building.
The sleuths of state investigation bureau (SIB) of cooperative cell, who are probing into the multi-crore Labour and Construction Co-operative Federation (LACCFED) scam, grilled Tripathi on Saturday.
During investigation, officers and engineers of LACCFED had told sleuths that they gave Rs. 4 crore to Tripathi for the release of Rs. 40 crore. "We were told by Tripathi to deposit 10% of the amount as was the practice under the government," said an officer.
The state cooperative cell had summoned Tripathi, Bahujan Samaj Party MLC Ashok Katiyar and former managing director of LACCFED Ramhit Gupta for interrogation.
Refuting charges, Tripathi told SIB to check documents and files related with the release of the fund. He said he never met any officer of the LACCFED. Tripathi would be summoned again if need be, said an officer.
Katiyar too denied his involvement in the scam and said he never visited LACCFED's office.
Gupta said he has informed senior officers about involvement of few employees in the racket.
In its exercise to find out the trail of the ill-gotten money, state cooperative cell has sought assistance from the income tax department and enforcement directorate. This is being done to find out where the accused had invested the money.
The special task force (STF) has been entrusted with the task to nab former chairman of LACCFED Sushil Katiyar and public relation officer Praveen Singh. Both are absconding since the SIB started probe into the scam.
According to sources, the income tax commissioner, Kanpur on Friday submitted a report to the director general of the state cooperative cell Subrat Tripathi regarding the investment of the ill-gotten money.
The report throws light on the transfer of the LACCFED money into the accounts of Katiyar and investment made by the accused in immovable and movable asset.
Former cooperative minister Babu Singh Kushwaha, who is cooling his heels in Ghaziabad jail, has also invested the money in property, an officer said.
A team of cooperative cell will visit Ghaziabad to grill Kushwaha and former BSP MLA Ram Prasad Jaiswal.
On Friday, the cooperative cell sleuths grilled accountant Anil Agarwal.
According to sources, Agarwal told them the money was released to the engineers on the direction of Katiyar and the then MD, Pankaj Tripathi.
The general manger of LACCFED, PN Singh Yadav, had lodged an FIR in the case alleging that Rs. 12.36 crore was fraudulently taken from the account of LACCFED. The state government later handed over the probe to the state cooperative cell.
In the FIR, Yadav had accused the then chief engineer, GS Srivastava, as well as Agarwal for illegal withdrawal of Rs. 12.36 crore from the account.