LUCKNOW: The vigilance establishment of Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday arrested four officials of UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (UPRNN) in connection with Rs 4,200-crore scam involving construction of memorials in Lucknow and Noida between 2007 and 2012 during the BSP regime.
Those arrested have been identified as (then) financial consultant Vimal Kant, general manager (technical) SK Tyagi, GM Krishna Kumar and Kameshwar Sharma. All have been arrested under the charges of prevention of corruption act, and criminal breach of trust by public servants.
A formal investigation into the memorial scam began in 2013 after the Lokayukta in its probe indicted 199 persons, including the then BSP ministers Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha, and also 12 BSP MLAs. Thereafter, a formal investigation was launched by the vigilance establishment.
Sources privy to the probe disclosed that high prices were levied for the stones used in the memorials and parks constructed in Lucknow and Noida during between 2007 and 2012 by the accused engineers.
Stones were quarried from Mirzapur putting into service 29 machines but it was shown in the papers that the stones were taken to Rajasthan and there the designs were carved out, thus inflating the cost by several times.
A consortium was also formed which was against mining rules. The accused engineers arbitrarily contacted stone suppliers and took a hefty commission. It was also revealed in the investigation that the officers were arbitrarily authorized to fix the price. The leasing was started after fixing a higher price. The firm of the financial consultant Vimal Kant’s brother was arbitrarily handed over crores of rupees.
Sources in the vigilance establishment said that in all, 199 persons were indicted in the memorial scam of which 65 were government officers and others were non-government persons. All 65 have retired. “We have got prosecution sanction against 18 government officials while a litigation procedure is under way against 47 others,” they said.
The action is a continuous process of the agency to chargesheet all the accused persons against whom the government has given the prosecution sanction and there is no stay order from the high court.
The vigilance establishment had filed first chargesheet in memorial scam last year in October 2020, then it had named six persons identified — geology and mining department joint director Suhail Ahmad Farooqui, then UPRNN unit in charge Ajay Kumar, consortium head Pannalal Yadav, Ashok Singh and Hoshiyar Singh.
The ED had also registered a case of PMLA in the scam and had raided the premises of six engineers and contractors in Lucknow. The ED is simultaneously conducting a probe into the sale and purchase of sandstone and marbles done by engineers and contractors by laundering public money.