The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Corridor of scams stares at Mayavati

New Delhi/Lucknow, Sept. 18: As the CBI prepared to file first information reports after the Supreme Court today ordered it to move against Mayavati, it appeared that this may only be the beginning of a long-drawn entanglement with law for the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

The court told the CBI to take “appropriate action” against Mayavati and her erstwhile cabinet colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui in the Rs 175-crore Taj heritage corridor scandal. The CBI counsel said the order indicated that cases should be registered.

An interim CBI report on Mayavati’s assets, suggesting there could be “wealth disproportionate” to her known sources of income, led to the order. The income-tax department was directed to co-operate with the CBI.

Mayavati said: “I have not read the Supreme Court judgment. Only after reading it will I be able to give a reaction.”

CBI director P.C. Sharma said FIRs would be registered on grounds of “misuse of official position, causing undue advantage to someone and undue loss to the government exchequer. This would be the limited scope of our inquiry”.

In the Taj corridor project, Rs 17 crore was spent without sanction when Mayavati was chief minister.

Samajwadi Party leaders, exuberant at their rival’s tribulation, said the CBI probe into the Taj scam had helped identify 131 land deals during her regime that could be called into question.

The deals — ranging from a bungalow in a posh New Delhi neighbourhood to hundreds of acres in Uttar Pradesh — involve either Mayavati or her family members, sources said.

They added that the CBI questioned her family, including father Prabhu Dayal, at a farmhouse in Bulandshahr of western Uttar Pradesh.

The 350-acre farm was transferred to a “third person”, Tej Singh, who was present with Prabhu Dayal when the CBI conducted its search.

Another deal is under CBI scrutiny. “We have been able to close in on the prime land, along the New Delhi-Agra Taj Expressway, that was transferred in the name of Mayavati’s family members a few days before her exit from office,” said a CBI official.

Official records have apparently confirmed that hundreds of acres, initially transferred to the former chief minister, were “re-transferred” to her father and brothers.

In some cases, the property was transferred again to outsiders as late as on August 28, three days after her government collapsed. Mayavati is alleged to have also purchased a bungalow in the heart of Delhi.

“We have asked the income-tax department to carry out a parallel probe into the properties,” the CBI source said.

The Supreme Court also ordered the Centre and the state government to initiate departmental inquiries against officials linked to the Taj scam and finalise a report in four months.

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