With the UP assembly elections just a year away, the arrest of former Noida chief engineer Yadav Singh is likely to trigger a political storm in the state.
The BJP, which hopes to wrest power in UP, is already using the issue to its advantage against rivals Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP). Both the parties were in power in the state in the last 12 years and have maintained a stoic silence over Singh’s arrest.
Welcoming the arrest, BJP state unit president Laxmikant Bajpai said, “Investigation by the CBI will expose SP and BSP leaders’ links with Singh.”
Singh has been accused of taking commissions, resorting to favouritism, improper tendering and contract allotments of projects and money laundering. The SP and BSP leaders who allegedly benefitted from Singh are also under CBI scanner.
The Yadav Singh saga has its origins in 2002 when BSP was in power and Mayawati was the chief minister. The scam came to light during the present SP regime led by Akhilesh Yadav.
Singh enjoyed immense clout in political and bureaucratic circles, first in the Mayawati government (May 2002-August 2003) and then in the SP government (2003 to 2007). He also held sway during the Mayawati government from 2007 to 2012 and in the present dispensation.
BJP and Congress leaders had alleged that the family members of senior SP and BSP leaders were partners in firms floated by Singh.
“The Central government should bring the facts before the people,” said BJP state spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak.
Income tax raids in November 2014 and Noida authority reports indicate that Singh executed projects worth Rs. 8,000 crore in Noida in 12 years. The raids on his house and various properties found Rs. 10 crore in cash and two kilogrammes of gold and diamond jewellery were recovered.
“Yadav Singh is one stone with which we can kill two birds – the SP and the BSP – in the 2017 elections. The NRHM scam sent some politicians of the Mayawati government and several bureaucrats behind bars. This (Noida) scam will send politicians and bureaucrats of both the SP and BSP regimes to jail,” said a senior BJP leader.
Sanjay Singh, a political observer, said, “Yadav Singh is a fit case to show how successive governments patronise corrupt officials. He will cost both SP and BSP dearly in the 2017 assembly elections just the way the NRHM scam led to Mayawati’s ouster in 2012.”