The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted multiple raids at 10 locations across Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana in connection with the money laundering investigation into the Rs 1,500-crore Gomti riverfront development project sanctioned under previous Akhilesh Yadav government.
According to reports, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials assisted by the local police carried out raids across various premises of the accused and their associates in Delhi, UP (Lucknow and Noida), Rajasthan and Haryana. The ED officials reportedly raided these premises in search of documents and evidence, they added.
The ED had filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in March last year after taking cognizance of a CBI FIR. Six months after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered a case to investigate alleged irregularities in the Gomti riverfront development project, the ED had 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.
Reportedly, the CBI had taken over the probe after an inquiry into the beautification project was ordered by the present Yogi Adityanath-led government. Yogi government had asked for an investigation into the irregularities committed with a ‘criminal intent’ in the implementation of the Gomti river channelisation project and the Gomti riverfront development by the state irrigation department.
Initially, the state government had constituted a committee under retired Allahabad High Court judge Alok Kumar Singh, which had indicated prima facie irregularities in the project in its report. The Uttar Pradesh Police had then registered a case the basis of this report before state government handing over the case to CBI in July 2017.
Gomti riverfront development is an 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.