In a surprise move, the UP government has filed a review petition against the Allahabad high court’s recent order directing removal of two senior IAS officers from their posts on corruption charges, and a CBI inquiry into land allotments in Noida. Opposition parties have decried the move and charged the Akhilesh Yadav government with trying to save ‘corrupt’ officers.
The two officers are known to be close to the Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav. It was during Yadav’s regime between 2005-2007 that the two officers had allotted lands to hoteliers in Noida. An FIR was lodged against 16 officers, including these two, after an inquiry by the succeeding Mayawati government found them guilty of causing a loss of over Rs4,700 crore to the state exchequer.
The high court bench comprising justices Amitava Lala and PKS Baghel refused to give any relief to the two officers, neither did it say anything about the CBI probe in its order after hearing the petition on Monday.
The court admitted the petition and gave two weeks’ time to the original petitioner, Madhav Samaj Kalyan Samiti, Pratapgarh, who had filed the PIL for removal of Noida chairman Rakesh Bahadur (IAS, 1979) and CEO Sanjiv Saran (IAS, 1983).
On November 8, the court had ordered a CBI inquiry into all land allotments between 2001 and 2010. The court had also directed that the two officers should not be posted anywhere in west UP to keep them from influencing the investigation.
Opposition seems to have found a potent issue to slam the Akhilesh regime with. “It is beyond all explanation as to why the government is standing by the side of the corrupt IAS officers,” says Congress’ Dwijendra Tripathi. “By filing this review petition, this government has exposed its real face. It is clearly trying to shield the corrupt officers,” says UP BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpayee.