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Mayawati faces ED warming over India's commemorative scam news

LUCKNOW: Weeks after SP Akhilesh Yadav's head came under the CBI's lens for alleged illegal sand mining, the BSP Mayawati chief was under the control of the law enforcement agency, and the agency conducted inspections at seven senior officials on monument building.

The search concerns the decision-making process for the construction of memorials during the BSP regime in the UP in 2007 at a cost exceeding 4,000 crores. The ED measure concerned the money laundering case registered in 2016.

Resources say that engineers, project managers and contractors, connected with UP Rashtriya Nirman Nigam, who built monuments, avoided repeated summons.

Probe initiated during SP mode

ED claims that irregularities in the procurement of building materials led to a loss exceeding CZK 111 million.

Ambedkar Smarak Parivartan Sthal, Manyavar Kanshi Ram Smarak Sthal, Gautambuddha Upvan, Eco Park, Noida Ambedkar Park and Ramabai Ambedkar Smriti Upvan built during BSP mode are under the scanner. The monuments were intended as a mark of respect for the Dalit icons.

The search will appear soon after ED has performed a similar mine mining operation last month in connection with the SP regime under the leadership of the former CM Akhilesha Yadawa. Both Mayawati and Akhilesh called the NDA government a political vendetta.

Interestingly, in the memorial, the swindler UP lokayukta first started the probe in 2013 after the SP came to power in the state. In its report, Lokayukta accused 199 people, including Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwah, who were ministers in the Mayawati cabin, when construction of monuments began.

The report also stated that Rs 1,410 crore was launched by officials from Rs 4,148 crore approved by the then state government for the construction of monuments. The construction was carried out by UPRNN – the PWD and the Lucknow Development Authority.

During the search on Thursday, ED asked two engineers about the reasons and circumstances for approving the stone purchases that were obtained from the Mirzapur contractors but transferred to Rajasthan and then brought to Lucknow. Irregularities led to losses of 111 million crowns to the state treasury, said the High Representative. Some of them were also asked for a mass purchase of sandstone for memorials from vendors who were found by relatives of senior government officials.

Engineers were also asked for purchases made directly from suppliers without following the specified procurement procedure. Banking lease was granted to individuals in breach of standards. Engineers were questioned about the bank transactions and tax details required by the alert department during their survey in the same case and not provided. Of the seven sites, four were in Gomtinagar, two in Indiranagar and one in Hazratganj Lucknow.

ED expert said that the initial investigation showed that the red stone used in monument building was originally purchased at Rs 1,050 per cubic foot, while the price was later increased to R 1 190 and then to R 1890 per cubic foot. "We have information that these purchases were made from suppliers, many of whom were related to senior officials posted to UPRNN," the source said.

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