The Allahabad High Court has ordered the UP government to remove Noida Authority Chairman Rakesh Bahadur and CEO Sanjeev Saran from their posts. The court directions came as it called for a CBI inquiry into charges of financial misappropriation against the two officials.
The two were re-appointed to the posts on May 4 after the Samajwadi Party government returned to power in the state.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Amitava Lala and Justice P K S Baghel ordered the inquiry, following a petition by NGO Madhav Samaj Nirman Samiti.
The NGO accused the two officials of financial misappropriation during their previous tenure — between 2005 and 2007. At that time too, the SP was in power.
Counsel for the petitioner
M D Singh Shekhar said: “The court also directed the state government not to post these two officers in western Uttar Pradesh for the next six months and not give them charge of other industrial authorities — Greater Noida Authority and Yamuna Expressway Development Authority.”
The court directed the CBI to inquire into the alleged acts of “omission and commission” by the officials and submit a report within six months, Shekhar said.
Noida Authority standing counsel said Shivam Yadav said: “The court has directed removal of the two officials. We are yet to get a copy of the order. The terms and references for a CBI inquiry will become clear once we get the order.”
During previous hearings of the petition, another division bench had asked the state to reconsider its decision to re-appoint the two officials given the allegations, but the government took no action.
The two officials have been accused of allotting plots under a farmhouse scheme to the hotel industry at Rs 7,400 per square metre instead of the market rate of Rs 74,000 per square metre, leading to a loss to the exchequer to the tune of over Rs 4,000 crore.
After the BSP government took over in 2007, an FIR was registered against Bahadur and Saran and they were suspended. A departmental inquiry was also initiated against them.
Their suspension was revoked during the closing days of the BSP government’s tenure.
Police had filed a closure report in connection with the FIR, but it had not been accepted by the court. The departmental inquiry, too, was not concluded.
The court had appointed commissioners to assess the plots allotted by the two officials. The report was submitted in a sealed cover.
Senior Noida Authority officials said they are yet to receive the High Court order. “We got the news from the media. We have not been informed officially. Even if they are removed, we are not in a position to say anything. All work will have to be stalled until the state government appoints new officials,” a senior official said.
Rakesh Bahadur and Sanjeev Saran appointed as chairman and CEO, respectively, of the Noida Authority in 2005, under the SP government
The two were accused of allotting plots under a farmhouse scheme to the hotel industry at Rs 7,400 per sqm instead of the market rate of Rs 74,000 per sqm
Loss to the exchequer pegged at more than Rs 4,000 crore
An FIR was filed against Bahadur and Saran after the BSP government took over in 2007
The two were suspended and a departmental inquiry initiated
Suspension revoked during the closing days of the BSP tenure
Police filed closure report, but it was not accepted by the court
Departmental inquiry has not concluded