A special CBI court in Ghaziabad on Tuesday sentenced former UP chief secretary Neera Yadav and another IAS officer Rajiv Kumar to three years in jail pronouncing them guilty in the Noida plot scam of the mid-90s. While 1971 batch officer Yadav retired in 2008, Rajiv (1971 batch) is posted as principal secretary, personnel and appointments, UP. The CBI court also slapped a fine of Rs1 lakh each on the two.
The order comes as a second blow for Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav within the span of a week. It is no secret that Neera Yadav enjoyed close proximity to the SP chief who made her chief secretary in 2005 despite several CBI chargesheets pending against her. The Supreme Court had ordered her removal after a PIL was filed. Besides, only last week, the Allahabad High Court had ordered the removal of Noida chairman Rakesh Bahadur (IAS 1979) and CEO Sanjiv Saran (IAS 1983) over a PIL relating to serious corruption charges. Both these officers are also known to enjoy the SP chief’s patronage.
Neera Yadav has been charged with allotting prime properties in Noida to benefit VIPs close to her when she was chairman and CEO, Noida, between 1994 and 1996. Rajiv Kumar was deputy DEO, Noida. then. The beneficiaries included politicians, IAS and IPS officers, businessmen and some others. Flex Group chairman Ashok Chaturvedi and Kailash Hospital chairman Mahesh Sharma were also among the accused in the original case registered by the CBI. Allegedly, Neera even cornered prime plots in her name, for her husband and in the name of her two daughters.
The Noida Entrepreneurs’ Association had taken the case to the Supreme Court in 1997. On the apex court’s directions, the CBI had registered an FIR in February, 1998, and filed seven chargesheets in March, 2003 before two Ghaziabad courts.
Meanwhile, Neera’s three-year jail sentence has sent alarm bells ringing through UP’s bureaucracy as several other officers involved in impugned Noida allotments could also face severe action.
The Allahabad high court had recently ordered a CBI inquiry into all Noida land deals between 2001 and 2010. Besides, the CBI is also investigating several other scams related to UP, including the Rs 5,700-crore NRHM scam and the Rs35,000-crore foodgrains scam, which could pick up pace now.