CM returns key posts to IAS duo shunted by Maya
After seven weeks of uncertainties, the state government finally appointed Rakesh Bahadur as chairman and Sanjeev Sharan as chief executive officer (CEO) at the Noida authority.india Updated: May 04, 2012 22:54 IST
After seven weeks of uncertainties, the state government finally appointed Rakesh Bahadur as chairman and Sanjeev Sharan as chief executive officer (CEO) at the Noida authority. The two key posts had remained vacant after the new Samajwadi Party government shifted from Noida then chairman Mohinder Singh and CEO SK Dwivedi in mid-March.
This is the longest duration for which the authority has remained headless ever since it came into being in 1976. Because of the absence of these two officials, who take all policy decisions and chair board and budget meetings, development of new infrastructure and maintenance of existing sewer, drain, road, power and water projects took a backseat.
Both IAS officers were posted at the Noida authority in the same capacities during the last SP government. When Mayawati came to power, her government in 2009 suspended and chargesheeted the duo and many others in hotel plot scam worth more than Rs. 4,000 crore. Though the Supreme Court last year upheld the allotment, with certain riders, the two could not be reinstated till the SP came to power again.
“Plots to 14 hotels, including 3-star, 4-star and 5-star ones, had been allotted during the SP government in 2006. Mayawati cancelled the allotment and refunded Rs. 283 crore in 2009. But the Supreme Court last year quashed her decision and directed the allottees to pay an additional premium of Rs. 70,000 per sqm,” said a senior official.
The allottees were also given the option to surrender plots if they did not want to pay the additional amount. Some have paid the additional amount, while the rest allotments automatically got cancelled.
The Mulayam government put hotels under the “industry category” instead of the “commercial category.” “The authority approved and adopted the policy and only implemented a government decision,” said an official.
After a case was registered against current and former authority officials, including four IAS officers, the state government in 2009 suspended 16 officials. Days later, cases were lodged with sector 20 police station on a government order. It was alleged that these officers caused a loss of Rs. 4,721 crore by forging documents and selling commercial land at industrial sector rates. "The investigation has since been transferred from Noida police to the economic offence wing at Meerut. The accused have got stay on their arrest," said a police official.
From accused to boss:
Apart from Rakesh Bahadur and Sanjeev Sharan, the two other IAS officers made accused in the case were former Meerut commissioner (retired in February 2009) Deo Dutta and then Noida authority ACEO Ravinder K Naik. One PCS officer (DCEO CP Singh) was also among the accused. Others made accused were a general manager, two deputy general managers, a senior project engineer, a town planner, an accounts officer, a desk officer, a chief town planner, a regional tourism officer and a finance controller.
When authority probed duo:
The Noida authority in 2009 ordered a departmental inquiry as directed by the state government. ACEO PN Bothom (now transferred) looked into the matter. Then CEO Balvinder Kumar said the allotted land was meant for commercial use but it was sold at industrial plot rates. Plus, while changing the land use, a mandatory NCR Planning Board's approval was not obtained in the case. The allottees were given commercial FAR benefits despite the fact the plots were sold as industrial.