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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

UP: All eyes on probe into sale of 21 state sugar mills during BSP govt

The Yogi govt recommended the CBI inquiry following allegations that the BSP govt sold these mills for a song.

lucknow Updated: Jan 09, 2019 11:46 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
The CAG had submitted a report on sale of 21 sugar mills. The CAG report formed the basis for a probe by the state lokayukta on the issue.
The CAG had submitted a report on sale of 21 sugar mills. The CAG report formed the basis for a probe by the state lokayukta on the issue.(File Photo)
         

Amid speculation that the CBI may quiz former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in the mining scam, all eyes are now on what action, if any, the authorities will take in connection with the CBI inquiry that the Yogi Adityanath government recommended into the sale of 21 sugar mills run by the UP State Sugar Corporation during the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) regime (20072012).

The Yogi government recommended the CBI inquiry following allegations that the BSP government sold these sugar mills for a song. Whether the BSP chief will be quizzed in this connection will be clear only after some preliminary investigation.

Though the authorities refused to admit, there are reports that the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has been collecting some information and documents on the issue.

“Yes, the state government recommended a CBI probe into BSP government’s decision of selling 21 sugar mills. We are yet to hear from the Centre or the CBI on the issue,” said a senior officer of the state government.

After taking over as chief minister, Yogi Adityanath had announced that a probe will be conducted into the alleged Rs 1,100 crore scam and, if necessary, a CBI inquiry will be recommended. The CAG had submitted a report on sale of 21 sugar mills. The CAG report formed the basis for a probe by the state lokayukta on the issue.

After its installation in March 2017, the Yogi government also ordered nearly 10 inquiries in the first 10 weeks into schemes launched by the SP regime.

A close look at these inquiries indicated that the probe into some of these cases may still be underway while in other cases, no major revelations have been made. The Yogi government had recommended a CBI probe into an alleged scam pertaining to the Delhi-Saharanpur-Yamunotri highway project. The Uttar Pradesh State Highway Authority (UPSHA) had lodged an FIR against four officials of a Hyderabad-based construction company for impersonation and fraud during the 2017 assembly elections. Later, the Yogi government decided to recommend a probe into the issue. As the CBI showed reluctance to take over probe in the case, the state government later constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the fraud, said a senior officer.

The Yogi government had also ordered a probe into the SP government’s ambitious Gomti riverfront project. A three-member committee headed by former Allahabad high court judge justice AK Singh has been formed. The judicial committee indicted two former chief secretaries for irregularities in the project implementation. On the basis of findings of the judicial committee, the state government recommended a CBI probe and cases were registered against lower rung officials. Former irrigation minister Shivpal Yadav had defended himself by stating that “everything was fine” with the project as long he was heading it. Later, the issue was referred to the Central Water Commission for an inquiry. Another investigation ordered by the Adityanath government pertains to alleged irregularities in land acquisition for the Agra-Lucknow (Access Controlled) Greenfield Six Lane Expressway. “Nothing major was found in the inquiry. There were technical corrections required and the needful was done without any extra cost to the state exchequer,” said another officer. A technical probe was also conducted into irregularities in construction of Jai Prakash Narain International Convention Centre (JPNIC) in Lucknow. Authorities later claimed no major irregularities were found and work has begun again. The Yogi government had also ordered a probe into Yash Bharti awards, the Samajwadi pension scheme, distribution of ration cards, allegedly fake fixed deposits for obtaining PWD contracts (Etah), and irregularities in JNNURM implementation by the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam.