Land scam: 4-year jail for ex-UP chief secy

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 18:28

Ghaziabad: Controversial former UP chief
secretary Neera Yadav and Flex Industries owner Ashok
Chaturvedi were on Tuesday convicted and sentenced to a four-year
jail term by a special CBI court here in a land scam case when
she was NOIDA`s chief executive officer in 1992-94.

CBI Special Court Judge A K Singh also slapped fines
of Rs 50,000 each on the two convicts who were taken to
high-security Dasna jail soon after the verdict was pronounced
in a jam-packed courtroom.
57-year-old Chaturvedi was handcuffed while being
taken to jail but Yadav, 62, who broke down after hearing the
judgement, was spared.

The two were convicted and sentenced under Section 13
Prevention of Corruption Act and 120B (conspiracy) of the
Indian Penal Code. Yadav was found guilty of having violated
the rules in allotting an industrial plot in Noida to Flex
Industries.

"It is beyond my view to think about the involvement
of bureaucrats in corrupt practices which is found to be
correct (in this case) as the prosecution has proved against
(former) chairperson Noida Neera Yadav and she is liable for
punishment for adopting corrupt practices in allotment to
industrialists which was acquired from poor farmers," the
judge said in his order.

It is the first conviction in a graft case for Yadav,
a 1971 batch IAS officer who was chief secretary during the
chief ministership of Mulayam Singh Yadav. She had earned the
dubious distinction of being the country`s first IAS officer
to be removed from the chief secretary`s post by the Supreme
Court on charges of corruption in 2005.

She was also tagged one of the "most corrupt officers"
in a poll held by UP IAS association in 1997.

The CBI chargesheeted her in 2002 in at least four
graft cases and since then they were pending in the court. She
had been charged with allotting out of turn plots to
bureaucrats, politicians, industrialists and her near and dear
ones.

Judge A K Singh, however, acquitted Yadav in a second
land scam case relating to allotment of land to Dr Mahesh
Chand Sharma, chairman of Kailash Hospital in Noida. Sharma
was also acquitted in the case.

Clad in a pink silk sari, Yadav, who had earlier
requested the court to give her a chair owing to her poor
health, heaved a sigh of relief when the judge first
pronounced her acquittal in the Kailash Hospital case but
broke down after hearing her conviction in the Flex case.

Lawyers for Yadav and Chaturvedi said they will file
for bail tomorrow in the Allahabad High Court.

Yadav had taken voluntary retirement after BSP leader
Mayawati came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2007. Her husband
Mahendra Singh, a former police officer, was a minister in BJP
government in the state. Later he joined Samajawadi Party. In
2009, he and Yadav joined the BJP.

The Noida Entrepreneurs Association had approached the
Supreme Court againt Yadav in 1998 alleging large-scale
bungling in the allotment of land in different sectors and in
commercial Sector 18 in Noida during her tenure as head of
Noida`s Development Authority following which the apex court
directed the CBI to probe the matter.
Yadav had alleged that she was "framed" because she
belonged to a backward caste.

According to CBI, Yadav showed undue favour to
Chaturvedi by allotting his company residential plots. Rates
were reduced and eligibility criteria altered to favour the
company.

While the initial criteria required Rs 10 crore as a
company`s net worth and Rs 30 crore as annual turnover, it was
altered to Rs 3 crore and 10 crore respectively to favour
Flex. In the process, the government suffered a loss of Rs
1.12 crore, the CBI had contended.

Earlier, Yadav, Chaturvedi and Sharma had been granted
bail by the court in the cases.

After a writ petition was filed by NGO Centre for
Public Interest Litigation, the Supreme Court court in 2005
had directed the Mulayam Singh government to remove Yadav, who
was facing 23 departmental proceedings at that time and had
been charge sheeted in corruption cases by the CBI.

"The elevation of Neera Yadav is not only immoral but
also illegal since it is violative of the rules governing
promotion of public servants under suspension or in respect of
whom disciplinary proceedings or criminal cases are pending,``
the petitioners had alleged.

Mulayam had then shifted her to the less significant
post of Chairman, Revenue Board.

Yadav`s husband Mahendre, who was also present in the
court, said he respected the court verdict and they will
appeal against it.

Meanwhile, Kailash Hospital MD Mahesh Chand Sharma,
who was acquitted in the other case along with Yadav, said he
had "finally got justice after the pain and harrasment of
years.

"Justice prevails in our courts. I have full faith in
Indian judiciary," he said. Sharma had unsuccessfully
contested parliamentary elections last year from Gautam Budh
Nagar.

He, however, refused to comment on the conviction of
Yadav in the Flex case.

Authorities had made tight security arrangements
around the court.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 18:28

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