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FIR against Mayawati in Taj Corridor case

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 07, 2003 02:23 IST
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Nearly one and a half months after Mayawati quit as Uttar Pradesh chief minister following the Taj Heritage Corridor controversy, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday lodged an FIR against her and seven others in connection with the case.

Besides Mayawati, those named in the FIR are her top aide and former state environment minister Nasimuddin Siddique, former chief secretary D S Bagga, former principal secretary to Mayawati P L Punia, former principal secretary (environment) R K Sharma, former environment secretary V K Gupta, former Union environment secretary K C Mishra and NPCC chairman N C Bali, CBI sources said.

Among the bureaucrats Bagga, Punia and Sharma were put under suspension by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government, while Mayawati took similar action against Gupta in connection with the case.

The FIR lodged in a CBI court in Lucknow against Mayawati and seven others came three weeks after the Supreme Court directed CBI to take such an action for their alleged involvement in the scam.

The CBI began probe into irregularities in clearance to the Rs 175 crore case following a Supreme Court order of July 16.

After considering three different probe reports submitted by the CBI, an apex court bench comprising Justice M B Shah and Justice B N Agrawal had on September 18 concluded that registration of FIRs were necessary for carrying out further investigations as to how the corridor project work was undertaken and Rs 17 crore were sanctioned when the project itself was not cleared by the statutory authorities.

The state and the Centre have been directed by the Supreme Court to complete the departmental action against these officials within a stipulated time of four months.

Following this, the Uttar government suspended Bagga, Gupta and Punia on September 28. Mishra and Sharma were suspended earlier.

The CBI alleged that start of project work was approved by Mayawati and reeled out information on the alleged roles of Siddiqi and other officials in the irregularities and malpractices committed in the construction of the project.

Construction work of the project, which envisaged linking Taj Mahal with four other monuments -- Agra Fort, Itmad-ud-Daula, Chini-ka-Roja and Rambagh, was started on verbal orders of Sharma. The NPCC had unauthorisedly sub-contracted the work to a firm, Ikshwaku, the CBI alleged.

The CBI informed the court a major part of the Rs 17 crore sanctioned by Sharma to NPCC was transferred to Ikshwaku.

The agency said the Central Forensic and Scientific Laboratory has confirmed that Siddiqi, who had ordered release of Rs 20 crore for the construction work in May this year, had interpolated files to cover up his misdeeds.

The agency also alleged that CFSL has confirmed that the Union Environment Secretary K C Mishra had also indulged in interpolation of files to hide his failure to act on the report of the joint secretary's suggestion not to allow the construction work without a techno-feasibility report.

It was Court Commissioner Krishan Mahajan who was the first to point out to the court in March this year about the alleged diversion of Yamuna that was being carried out in the name of construction of the Taj Heritage Corridor.

He had then alleged that this project was being carried out without any clearance from the authorities and that it might cause damage to the world heritage monument.

The bench, after directing CBI investigation on July 16 this year into the alleged irregularities, had observed that instead of creating something, which could be classified as a national or world monument, concerned officials were bent on destroying the world heritage monument through their illegal activities.

The court also came down heavily on NPCC, a central government undertaking, for putting up a sign board at the site saying that the work of the heritage corridor had the authorisation of the Supreme Court.

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