A reminder by UP Lokayukta over disqualification of two MLAs indicted on charges of bagging government construction contracts and holding office of profit could put governor Ram Naik in a spot.
This is because one of the two MLAs belongs to the BJP and a decision over termination of their memberships from Assembly has to be taken by Naik in consultation with the Election Commission of India. Bahujan Samaj Party MLA from Rasra in Ballia Uma Shankar Singh and BJP legislator Bajrang Bahadur Singh from Pharendra in Maharajganj district were found prima facie guilty of misusing their position to garner government contracts worth crores.
Naik, who has r apped Akhilesh Yadav government for dragging its feet in taking action on reports submitted by the UP Lokayukta, would have to act fast as the inquiry report was submitted in February 2014.
“I have informed the governor once again about the findings of my inquiry report and how action against these two MLAs is still pending,” Mehrotra told Hindustan Times. BSP MLA Uma Shankar Singh was heading a sole proprietorship firm that was awarded work contracts by PWD worth crores. Same is the case with BB Singh of the BJP. Being public servants they cannot hold an office of profit.
Hence, their actions disqualify the two under section 9 (A) of the Representation of Peoples’ Act and Article 191 (E) of the Constitution, Mehrotra pointed out.
The Lokayukta, however, can only make recommendations against a legislator. Only the governor can take a final call on his or her disqualification after obtaining the opinion/views of the Election Commission, he said. According to sources, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had sent the inquiry report to the then governor BL Joshi. “The report was sent to the EC in May but I am not aware of any development after that,” said a senior official requesting anonymity.
On its part, the state government too faces an embarrassing situation as Mehrotra puts PWD officials and engineers in the dock too for continuing to award contract to the BSP MLAs firm. According to him, Chhatra Shakti Construction (CSC), the firm owned by Uma Shankar was awarded work contracts worth Rs 300 crore by the PWD in June 2014. “They are in a quandary as to who would bear the responsibility for the resultant loss if the contracts are cancelled from their side. Obviously, they would have to award the work on new, higher rates,” he said.