Uttar Pradesh urges apex court to hear land allotment issue


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Monday issued notices to Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and others asking them why it should not transfer from the Allahabad High Court to itself their petitions defending plot allotments in Lucknow.

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A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice J.M. Panchal issued the notices on a petition by the Uttar Pradesh government seeking directions to the Allahabad High Court to transfer the pleas of the beneficiaries of the 2005 allotment of the residential plots in upscale Gomati Nagar by the erstwhile Mulayam Singh Yadav government.

Yadav’s brother and former state minister Shivpal Singh Yadav was among the plot allotment beneficiaries issued notices Monday.

Others include the former chief minister’s special secretary Anita Singh, his principal secretary Anil Kumar, Lucknow’s former senior superintendent of police Navneet Sikera, the state’s former special secretary Ram Vraksh Yadav and Preeti Choudhary, the wife of Jaupur District Magistrate Anurag Yadav.

The state government headed by Yadav’s archrival Mayawati sought transfer of their petitions from the high court to the apex court on the plea that the Supreme Court was already seized of the matter owing to a public interest lawsuit, filed by Congress leader Vishvanath Chaturvedi, pending before it.

The lawsuit by Chaturvedi had demanded cancellation of the allegedly illegal allotment of the plots to politicians and bureaucrats and the apex court earlier had restrained the Lucknow Development Authority from transferring the plots to the persons who had been given allotments in 2005.

Following media reports, Yadav had ordered a judicial probe into the matter in 2005. But the judicial commission headed by a former high court judge never completed the probe despite getting three extensions of six months each.

After the change of government in the state, Chief Minister Mayawati handed over the responsibility of the probe to Lucknow Division’s Commissioner Vijay Shankar Pandey.

Pandey completed his probe on Sep 25 and concluded that the state exchequer was defrauded of a sum of nearly Rs.29 million owing to illegal allotment of plots. He recommended prosecution of the several government officials.

He also sought prosecution of the politicians and bureaucrats who were allotted the plots.

The state government had earlier approached the apex court seeking permission to implement Pandey’s recommendations on the ground that the apex court was already seized of the matter.

The apex court on Nov 2 had issued another set of notices to the 28 beneficiaries and several government officials asking why they should not be prosecuted for irregular allotment of the plots.