UP memorials case: ED books Mayawati`s ministers for money laundering
New Delhi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday registered a money laundering case against two ex-ministers of erstwhile Mayawati government of Uttar Pradesh and over two dozen others for alleged financial irregularities in the construction of memorials in the state when the BSP chief was Chief Minister.
The central probe agency has registered a criminal FIR (called Enforcement Case Information Report) against BSP leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui, a close aide of Mayawati, and former Health Minister Babu Singh Kushwaha to probe alleged laundering of Rs 1,400 crore siphoned off in the construction of memorials in Lucknow and Noida.
The ED also booked 19 others, including some government officials and engineers, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after taking cognisance of an year-old probe report against these people in this case by the state Lokayukta and a January 2014 FIR of the UP Vigilance department.
"The agency will probe money laundering against these individuals and others who generated illegal funds from the money of the state exchequer. Notices will soon be issued against those named," ED sources said.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had ordered a probe in this case soon after he took charge of the state. Yadav had also asked the Lokayukta to probe alleged irregularities and corruption in supply of pink sandstone from Mirzapur for the construction of memorials and parks during BSP rule.
UP Lokayukta N K Mehrotra had, in his report submitted last year, said irregularities to the tune of Rs 1,400 crore were detected, which was 34 per cent of the total budget for construction of memorials and parks in Lucknow and Noida.
Mehrotra`s report had said that a total of Rs 4,267.83 crore was allocated to four departments, of which Rs 4,188.54 crore was spent and "corruption" of Rs 1,410.50 crore has been detected. He had then recommended filing of FIRs against the accused after which the state Vigilance department filed the same in January this year.
Sources said the agency has written to certain banks and a few financial intermidiaries to obtain financial transactions data of the accused after going through the Lokayukta report which it had obtained earlier.
The ED, according to sources, has also identified both movable and immovable assets which will be attached under the PMLA.
Kushwaha is already under probe by the ED and the CBI in connection with the alleged financial irregularities in the National Rural Health Scheme (NRHM).
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