After securing a massive victory in the Zila Parishad elections, CM Yogi Adityanath is now exposing Samajwadi Party’s (SP’s) alleged Gomti riverfront scam. The first Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe was recommended by CM Yogi back in 2017.
On Monday, the CBI carried out raids at 40 locations across Uttar Pradesh after registering its second case to probe alleged irregularities in Lucknow’s Gomti riverfront development project. After registering the First Information Report (FIR) on 2 July (Friday), they raided across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh including Lucknow, Agra, and Ghaziabad apart from one place each in Rajasthan’s Alwar and West Bengal’s capital Kolkata.
16 public servants, including former chief engineers, superintending engineers, and other public servants of UP’s irrigation department, and 173 private persons and companies were named by the fresh FIR. The FIR focuses on a total of 661 works/contracts worth Rs. 407 crore awarded under the development project. The Enforcement Directorate too is investigating money laundering charges in the project.
This project was first initiated in 2015 by the Samajwadi Party (SP) government led by Akhilesh Yadav which was in power at that time. It was counted by Akhilesh Yadav as one of the big-ticket projects of his administration back then.
The project involved the construction of a rubber dam to maintain its water level, a stadium, an amphitheatre for 2,000 people, cycle and jogging tracks, a play area for children, and a musical fountain. The SP government promised that the project with its 33-acre green belt on both banks would place the Gomti riverfront on par with River Singapore, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Some former executive engineers like Roop Singh Yadav, former superintending Engineer Mangal Yadav, ex-chief engineers Siddh Narayan Sharma and Om Verma, and then executive engineer Arvind Singh Yadav fall among those named by CBI in the FIR. Yet, the CBI has not named former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav or any other politician in the FIR.
Akhilesh Yadav has not reacted to the second FIR yet the SP questioned the timing of the FIR, describing the investigation was initiated just to damage the image of the SP right before the assembly elections early next year.
As reported by Hindustan Times, SP’s spokesperson, Abdul Hafiz Gandhi said, “…the question remains why this hullabaloo when UP Vidhan Sabha elections are fast approaching. Investigation cannot be used as a political ploy to divert the attention of people from pressing issues. We want free and fair investigation but this government is only interested in political vendetta.”
UP minister and government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said the CBI searches indicate ‘misdeeds’ of the previous Samajwadi Party government. “We requested CBI earlier to speed up its probe in such scams. CBI is a central agency and works in its style,” the minister said, according to the news agency PTI.
BJP won 67 of the 75 seats on which the Zila Parishad election was contested. BJP’s massive win comes as a big humiliation to Akhilesh Yadav, whose party had won big time in the last district body President elections and had also pushed hard for the recent elections, as well.
Yogi Adityanath’s leadership is being lauded by the BJP leaders across the country including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yogi has become one of the most influential leaders in the country. From developing UP into an industrial state to reducing crime to tackling the first and second wave of the coronavirus pandemic effectively, UP has shown tremendous strength and capabilities, with Yogi at the helm.