ED summons six firms linked to irregularities in the Gomti Riverfront project sanctioned by Akhilesh Yadav

Six months after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered a case to investigate alleged irregularities in the Gomti riverfront development project, the ED has now summoned six companies who were involved in the mega project at Lucknow, which was sanctioned by Akhilesh Yadav while he was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

According to the Times of India report, the ED had prepared a list of companies last month, relating to the irregularities in the project. The ED while summoning these six companies said, “irregularities were observed during the course of the investigation which ranges from ‘excess payment’ to awarding contracts to blacklisted companies” as well as a mismatch in the contracted amount and released amount.

The companies summoned by ED are Gammon India Pvt Ltd, KK Spun Pipe Pvt Ltd, Rishu Construction, Hightech Competent Builders Pvt Ltd and Tarai Construction. The ED report says that the state government made excess payment to these six companies while some of the other companies did not even receive the original amount sanctioned in the contract. It further says that one company named Tarai Construction was awarded 13 contracts and also excess payments were done to this company.

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Another company, Gammon India, despite being blacklisted in many states was awarded two contracts involving the highest contract value of Rs.665 crore to a single company, which according to the ED was higher than the actual cost.

KK Spun, another company alleged to have committed irregularities is said to have failed to even fulfil the basic requirement conditions for filing the tender. Interestingly, this company went on to register with the irrigation department after the tender was awarded to it, resulting in irregularities while awarding the contract. The ED officials said that some of the ministers and officials who worked under the previous Akhilesh Yadav government will be summoned in relation with the probe.

Gomti riverfront development is a Rs.1,990 crore project commissioned in the year 2015 by the then UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to develop the riverfront along the Gomti river, which flows through the city of Lucknow. The government had sanctioned Rs.747.4 crore in February 2015 but was then the amount was scaled to Rs.1990 crore by the Samajwadi government in 2016, a year before the state assembly elections.

Yogi Adityanath soon after coming to power had recommended a CBI investigation six months ago while accusing the previous government of massive financial irregularities in the project. The central agency had booked eight officials under sections pertaining to criminal misconduct by the public servant, criminal breach of trust, cheating, and forgery of valuable security, forgery with the purpose of cheating, using forged documents as genuine and demand of illegal gratification.

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