Lucknow, January 31: Bringing Mayawati under scrutiny scanner, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted raids in connection with alleged irregularities of more than Rs 111 crore in construction of memorials in Uttar Pradesh. These memorials were built during the tenure of Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and former chief minister Mayawati between 2007 and 2012.
The ED has registered a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to probe these instances after taking cognisance of an Uttar Pradesh State Vigilance Department complaint made in 2014. The searches are reportedly being carried out at seven places, including premises of engineers of the Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam and private firms.
The vigilance complaint was registered under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act. It was related to purported financial irregularities in the construction of memorials during Mayawati’s regime. It was claimed that the said action had "resulted in the loss of over Rs 111,44,35,066 to the government exchequer and unlawful gain to public servants and private individuals".
During the BSP tenure, the government had built Kanshi Ram Smarak, Baudh Vidhar Shanti Upvan, Ambedkar Smarak, Kanshi Ram eco-garden, Rama Bai Ambedkar sthal, Kanshi Ram Sanskriti sthal, and Prateek Stahl Samta Moolak Chauraha in Lucknow.
In Noida, the Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden were constructed on 33 acres of land. The state government had constructed the statues, memorials, and parks at a cost of more than Rs 2,600 crore. Earlier, the UP Lokayukta had indicted 12 BSP MLAs and Mayawati's two cabinet colleagues Babu Singh Kushwaha and Naseemuddin Siddiqui, inter alia, for alleged 'wrongdoings' in the purchase of sandstone for the memorials.
The other persons against whom the case was filed included over 100 engineers and officers of the UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam, New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA), and Public Works Department. Based on the Lokayukta report, the vigilance department FIR was filed in 2014.
Earlier this month, the ED had raided 14 locations in connection with the FIR against 11 persons to investigate alleged illegal mining in Hamirpur district during 2012-2016. The case has links to former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Notably, Yadav and Mayawati have recently forged a tie-up to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.