Memorial scam: Rs 1,400 crore siphoned off by Mayawati government, says Lokayukta

Memorial scam: Rs 1,400 crore siphoned off by Mayawati government, says Lokayukta

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Lucknow In what could spell trouble for the Mayawati-led BSP, the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta has said that public money worth Rs 1,400 crore was siphoned off by several ministers and bureaucrats during the construction of memorials in her regime. The damning revelations are part of the year-long probe conducted by the Lokayukta into the alleged irregularities when the Dalit leader was in power.

Lokayukta Justice (retd.) NK Mehrotra has recommended a direct FIR to be filed against former BSP ministers Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha, saying around 30 percent of the money, which was siphoned off, should be recovered from them. The probe report has concluded that the duo was at the centre of the scam.

Mr Siddiqui, the party's national general secretary, was the Public Works Department (PWD) Minister at the time while Mr Kushwaha, a former BSP leader, was in charge of the Mines ministry. Most of the construction work for the memorials - widely criticised for wasting taxpayers' money - was carried out by the UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam and the PWD, which Mr Sidddiqui was in charge of.

The anti-graft ombudsman has also said that direct FIRs should be filed against 17 others.

Another key finding of the report also says of around Rs 4,188 crore spent on the purchase and finishing of stones for the memorials, around 35percent was pocketed by politicians, bureaucrats, engineers and contractors.

The report has also recommended a probe to be initiated against 199 people, saying there is clear evidence of commission on their part.

The Lokayukta's probe report was handed over to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today, who after dislodging Ms Mayawati from power last year, had promised her statues and other structures would not be pulled down.

Story First Published: May 20, 2013 16:44 IST

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