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UP to move SC for demolition of Sahara mansion

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
June 19, 2008 22:18 IST
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Determined to send the message loud and clear to the mighty and the affluent that none was above law, the Mayawati government has decided to move the apex court against an order of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court restraining the Lucknow Development Authority from pulling down part of Sahara group chairman Subroto Roy's private estate.

Close on the heels of the Reserve Bank of India restraints on the Sahara empire's para-banking operations, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Wednesday gave yet another jolt to the enigmatic multi-billion business house by ordering demolition of several illegal structures erected by Sahara.

While bulldozers were pressed into service by the LDA late on Wednesday night to bring down the 1.2 km metre long boundary wall around the sprawling 200 acre private estate-cum-residence of Subroto Roy, some structures were also razed on Thursday morning.

Claiming that authorities had carried out the operation without prior notice, Sahara proprietors moved the Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court. A bench headed by Justice D P Singh not only stayed the LDA operation, but also summoned and severely castigated LDA Vice-Chairman Ram Bahadur.

Bahadur chose to remain tight-lipped, but other senior officials in the government disclosed, "It has been decided that the high court's order be challenged before the Supreme Court."

Hectic preparations were afoot at the state secretariat to prepare all documents for filing a special leave petition before the apex court on Friday .

Sticking to their guns, state officials maintained that besides a 1.2 km long boundary wall, certain structures were also raised on an 'encroached' 30-metre-wide stretch all along the wall.

"The structures and the boundary wall were erected illegally on encroached land earmarked for a zonal road in the state capital's master-plan," a top spokesman of the government told

Even as Sahara officials maintained studied silence while harping on the court's stay order, insiders did not deny that the government land had been actually encroached by the giant business house.

Owing to the close proximity between former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and Subroto Roy, no official dared to initiate any action against the errant company. The all-powerful owner of the company had to eventually face the music.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow