ED raids 7 locations in Lucknow in ‘memorials scam’ case of UP during Mayawati’s tenure
The searches were carried out on the premises of stone suppliers and officials of Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (UPRNN), the government agency involved in constructing the memorials.india Updated: Feb 01, 2019 07:53 IST
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted raids at seven locations in Lucknow in connection with the alleged Rs 1,400-crore scam related to the building of various memorials during the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) rule between 2007 and 2012.
The searches were carried out on the premises of stone suppliers and officials of Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (UPRNN), the government agency involved in constructing the memorials.
In January 2014, the ED had registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act saying the alleged scam resulted in losses to the government exchequer and “unlawful gain to public servants and private individuals”.
The ED had registered the case on the basis of state vigilance department’s First Information Report alleging fraud, corruption and criminal conspiracy against two former BSP ministers – Naseemudin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha – on January 1, 2014.
An official associated with the probe said the raids were carried out at seven places in Hazratganj, Aliganj, Gomti Nagar and Para areas of the state capital. He said the searches become necessary as the accused ignored ED’s summons.
The official said the issues in the memorial scam are the purchase of same quality red stone at three different rates.
It also involves the role of suppliers and consortiums, which provided the material at exorbitant rates, and supply of stones by relatives of Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam officers.
He said the initial investigations till now have found that although stones were procured from Mirzapur, they were routed through Rajasthan, which led to a loss to public money.
He said the probe also exposed major violations of government norms in granting lease deeds to people for sandstone mining in Mirzapur for the supply of such material.
Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta has also pointed out anomalies and given a report over the memorial scam. A police official, who did not want to be named, said as per the details in the FIR, an expenditure of Rs 4148.54 crore was made on construction of five memorials in Lucknow and Noida.
He said the first information report (FIR) mentions that at least 34% of the actual amount or Rs 1,410.50 crore had been allegedly siphoned off by the two ministers and government officials in the construction of memorials by buying sandstone at inflated rates.
The official said other than the two former ministers; those named in the FIR were former MD of UPRNN CP Singh, former joint director of geology and mines department, Suhail Ahmad Farooqui, and 16 other engineers of UPRNN.
The accused and the BSP refused to comment on the raids.
First Published: Jan 31, 2019 23:28 IST