Much to the chagrin of ruling Samajwadi Party Government in Uttar Pradesh, the state Lokayukta on Monday gave a clean chit to former Chief Minister Mayawati in connection with the construction of parks and memorials during her regime.
A sum of Rs 5,000 crore was allocated for the BSP chief’s dream project to set up parks and memorials in the name of Dalit icons and social workers.
But the good news for the BSP ended there as the Lokayukta did not spare Mayawati’s close aid and former minister Nasimuddin Siddiqui. Over 190 people were indicted for pocketing nearly Rs 1,400 crore of the government funds allocated for the dream project.
Babu Singh Kushwaha, now out of the BSP and in jail in connection with the multi-crore health scam, was also not spared.
Though engineers, accountants and other lower rung officials and contractors were among the list of accused, not a single IAS officer was named. The Rajkiya Nirman Nigam was the nodal agency for project execution. Lokayukta Judge Justice (rtd) N K Mehrotra said he has recommended registration of FIRs against the accused and attachment of their property to ensure recovery of the money siphoned off by the accused.
The then BSP Government had wasted money on parks and statues, including that of Mayawati and nearly 200 elephants -- the BSP’s official symbol -- so much so that the then Opposition had described the Maya regime as ‘Patthar dilwali sarkar’( a heartless regime).
The misuse of the funds also became an election issue, leading to the BSP’s exit from the power circles. Even the Election Commission had to intervene and order draping of statues of elephants and Mayawati before the polls.
A series of PILs were filed in the Supreme Court, which from time to time had cautioned the then regime and also stalled the work.
In its election campaign, the SP had promised to probe into the dream project issue and take action against the guilty.
Keeping with this, the inquiry was ordered and state Lokayukta told to look into the issue.