Lucknow, March 14: Uttar Pradesh Congress members cried “foul” as the Mayavati-led government yesterday sealed the bank account of its state unit on the pretext of “recovering” the Rs 6 crore that the party allegedly owed the state road transport corporation.
“It’s a part of Mayavati’s political vendetta. After the Samajwadi Party, she is now gunning for us for having moved a no-confidence motion against her in the recent Assembly session,” claimed Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Arun Kumar Singh Munna.
A government spokesman, however, said the state’s Congress unit had not paid the transport money for having chartered buses as long ago as the mid-eighties — when it was in power in the state.
“The district magistrate had sent them a recovery notice a week ago, but the party did not take any action,” he added.
When the first recovery notice was issued in 1998, the Congress had obtained a stay on the matter. Recently, the state government got the stay order vacated by the high court and again issued a recovery notice.
The Congress and its advocates apparently woke up to the government’s moves only today when a local newspaper reported the sealing of the bank account.
“We never said that we would not pay the dues. But we demanded that the government show us the requisition letters to prove that the party had requisitioned the buses,” said a member of the Uttar Pradesh Congress.
The party had already paid Rs 60 lakh a few years ago but the transport department was yet to provide it copies of the requisition letters, claimed the Congress member.
“If the party had requisitioned the fleet, it’s liable. But if it was done by any individual, that individual should be made to pay,” he said.
Sources said the requisition letters were issued by Sanjay Singh, a former Congress minister of the state who is now with the BJP, an ally in the Mayavati-led coalition.
The state Congress is planning to contest the sealing of the bank account in court. “The district administration had no right to seize the party’s account,” asserted Munna.
Lucknow district magistrate Navneet Sehgal confirmed that account of the Congress state unit in the Ashok Marg branch of Bank of India had been sealed and the procedure for recovery of arrears would begin next week.
“If the amount in the bank account exceeds the amount the Congress owes the government, then the account will be released after the dues have been withdrawn. However, if the amount is less than the arrears, then it will remain sealed,” said Sehgal.