Lucknow: After lying vacant for 49 days, the posts of the chairman and CEO of Noida, neighbouring New Delhi, were filled Friday with the Uttar Pradesh government appointing Rakesh Bahadur and Sanjeev Saran, respectively, to these posts. Both have held the same charge in the previous Samajwadi Party government.
The transfers were cleared late Thursday night by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in concultation with his father and Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and the decision put to rest one of the longest waits for the crucial posts.
The post had become a headache for the state government as Noida postings were mired in many controversies in the past.
While many names were being discussed for the key posts, the will of the former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was in favour of both these officials who occupied the same posts during his tenure (2003-2007), prevailed, sources told a news agency.
The chief minister was reportedly not in favour of the two officials initially as they were facing investigations by the state government agencies as well as the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The then Mayawati government had suspended both Saran and Bahadur on Aug 10, 2009 and had ordered registration of criminal cases against them for alleged involvement in allocation of plots in Noida for construction of five-star hotels.
The action had come two years after the government had cancelled the said allotments, made in 2006, during the previous Mulayam Singh government, and alleged that irregularities caused a loss of Rs 4,721 crore to the state exchequer.
As the Mayawati government had cancelled the allotment of 14 plots on Aug 3, 2007, the allottees had challenged the government decision in Allahabad High Court.
The court quashed the cancellation order and asked the government to give the allottees personal hearing and then pass an order. The Mayawati government had again cancelled the allotments after hearings.
Meanwhile, the Mayawati government Aug 12, 2010 got cases lodged against 15 officials, including Bahadur and Saran, and a departmental charge sheet had also been served to them during pendency of the case in the court.
However, the hotels July 5, 2011 moved the Supreme Court, which ruled that no nepotism, corruption or favouritism took place.
On May 11, 2010, the enforcement directorate had registered a case of money-laundering and issued notices to three serving and one retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers of Uttar Pradesh cadre. The serving officers, issued notices, were Bahadur, Saran and Ravindra K. Nair (assistant CEO) while Devdutt, who also served as Noida CEO and retired in 2010, was also slapped with the notice.
The action had come after the ED had taken suo motu cognizance of "inputs" on money-laundering in connection with the Noida land scam that took place during Mulayam Singh Yadav`s last innings as chief minister of UP.