All you need to know about the Gomti Riverfront Project scam

The Enforcement Directorate has today issued summons to five private firms who were involved in the megaproject sanctioned by Akhilesh Yadav while he was the CM of Uttar Pradesh. According to reports, these summonses come six months after the ED registered a case with regards to the megaproject. The ED, in its statement, has stated that several irregularities, ranging from excess payments to awarding contracts to blacklisted companies were observed during the course of their investigation.

Here is all you need to know on the Gomti Riverfront megaproject scam:

  1. The Akhilesh Yadav government in UP had sanctioned the Gomti River channelisation Project and the Gomti Riverfront Development by the state irrigation department during his tenure in 2014-15. The megaproject was sanctioned reportedly at the total cost of Rs 1500 crores.
  2. Taking cognisance of the massive irregularities and corruption alleged to have taken place during the sanctioning and execution of the project, the Yogi Adityanath government, soon after it came to power in March 2017, launched an investigation into the project. Yogi Adityanath had conducted an on-spot inspection of the project on the very next day of assuming office.
  3. The Yogi government had constituted a committee under retired Allahabad HC Judge Alok Kumar Singh to launch a probe into the alleged scam. The committee found prima facie irregularities in its report submitted on May 2017. The committee was asked to probe why the project was still incomplete even after an expenditure of Rs 1513 crores of the taxpayer’s money.
  4. In June 2017, the UP police had registered a case on the basis of the findings of the committee. In July 2017, the Yogi Adityanath government had requested for a CBI probe into the matter.
  5. CBI took over the case in November and registered an FIR in on December 1st, 2017, in Lucknow against 8 state government engineers who had been involved in the project. The FIR named 3 chief engineers namely Gulesh Chandra, SN Sharma and Qazim Ali, 4 superintendent engineers namely Mangal Yadav, Akhil Raman, Kamaleshwar Singh, Roop Singh Yadav and one executive engineer named Surendra Yadav. Several of the engineers were retired at the time of the FIR.
  6. In March 2018, the Enforcement Directorate, taking cognisance of the CBI FIR in December, registered a criminal case against the same engineers under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The case was registered to probe whether the funds laundered by the accused in the FIR was used to create any illegal assets.
  7. Continuing its investigation into the case further, the ED had last month compiled a list of private companies namely Gammon India Pvt Ltd, KK Spun Pipe Pvt Ltd, Rishu Construction, Hightech Competent Builders Pvt Ltd and Tarai Construction.
  8. The ED report states that despite being blacklisted in several states, Grammon India Pvt Ltd was awarded two tenders of the highest contractual value of Rs 656 crores.
  9. The company KK Spun Pipes Pvt Ltd was reportedly awarded the tender even without registering its name with the irrigation department.
  10. The sanctioned amount for the project in had escalated from Rs 747.4 crores in February 2015 to Rs 1990.2 crores as of June 2016.

The CBI has registered cases under sections of the IPC pertaining to criminal misconduct by a public servant, criminal breach of trust, cheating and forgery against the irrigation department engineers. Planned and portrayed as a mega-infrastructure project for the beautification and development of the Gomti riverfront in Lucknow city, the project has reportedly not only cost the exchequer a staggering 1500 crores more but as per reports, it would take another 1000 crores rupees to complete the project as per plan.

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