ED conducts multiple raids on Mayawati over Rs 1,400 Crore memorial scam

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A week after CBI raided officers and ministers of former CM Akhilesh Yadav’s cabinet in sand mining scam, it has now turned its focus on Akhilesh’s close ally Mayawati.

New Delhi Jan 31: Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted searches at six locations in Uttar Pradesh in connection with Rs 1,400 crore memorial scam during BSP chief Mayawati’s tenure. The move comes a week after CBI raided officers and ministers of former CM Akhilesh Yadav’s cabinet in sand mining scam.

According to officials, many bureaucrats are also on radar of the ED as the searches are underway. The house of then MD of UP Nirman Nigam CP Singh in Lucknow was searched by the officials along with places of officers and contractors involved in the alleged scam.

Earlier, the CBI carried out searches at 14 locations to probe the alleged illegal mining of minor minerals in Hamirpur district during Yadav’s regime in 2012-16. Reacting to the development, the former chief minister said that the agency is targeting opposition parties ahead of general elections.

His statement was also supported by the BSP chief, who recently forged an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.

The raids were conducted five months after Allahabad High Court had asked for the status of vigilance report in the alleged memorial scam. The Allahabad High Court had also directed administration not to ‘spare’ any culprits. A bench of Chief Justice DB Bhosale and Justice Yashwant Varma was hearing the matter then.

The UP Lokayukta had indicted former ministers Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha along with 197 others for ‘wrong-doings’ in the purchase of sandstone for Dalit memorials in Lucknow and Noida during Mayawati’s regime from 2007 to 2012.

Lokayukta NK Mehrotra, who handed over his 88-page report to former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, had, however, exonerated BSF chief Mayawati for lack of evidence and said there was no proof against her or any bureaucrat.

While Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who is acing several cases of disproportionate assets, is already out of the Bahujan Samaj Party and has now joined the Indian National Congress, Babu Singh Kushwaha was expelled from the party after he was accused in another infamous scam of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). Singh is currently serving his jail term in connection with the case.

Apart from them, many engineers and officers have been accused in the FIR, which was registered in 2014 for alleged financial irregularities.

The other major finding of the report by Lokayukta said that around Rs 4,188 crore was spent on the purchase and finishing of stones for the memorials, out of which around 35percent went into the pockets of bureaucrats, politicians, contractors and engineers.

The Lokayukta report also recommended investigation against 199 people and also stated that there was evidence of commission taken by the 199 people named in the report.

(With inputs from Shirin Abbas)

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