Donations galore, donors missing

Maya aides explain away amassed wealth, tell Lokayukta they got gifts

One may have heard of people making huge donations to temples, but preferring to remain anonymous perhaps believing that the gods is watching them.

A somewhat similar situation has arisen before the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta, when several former UP ministers and close aides of former chief minister Mayawati claimed to have received huge donations, but failed to produce the donors when asked by the omdudsman.

The ministers, including Naseemuddin Siddique, Ram Achal Rajbhar, Ramveer Upadhyaya and Ranga Nath Mishra, in their response to the Lokayukta’s notice on amassing huge wealth, claimed that many of the properties had been given to them in donations.

Some former ministers had claimed to have received cash donations as well. The ‘donations’ ranged from pricey lands to expensive ornaments as well as cash.

Sources said at least one former minister claimed before the Lokayukta that hundreds of people from his native district had donated cash to his trust which runs educational institutions.

Lokayukta office said none of the former ministers could produce a single donor when they were told to produce them for the verification of their claims.

“It is suspected that they amassed these properties from unaccounted money,” Lokayukta Justice (retd) N K Mehrotra said.

The Lokayukta has recommended a probe by the Enforcement Department into the matter. He suspects that some of the money might have been invested abroad.

Several former state ministers were already facing probe on charges of corruption. Only recently, the Lokayukta had said that around Rs 1,400 crore had been pocketed by former ministers and officials in the construction of memorials during the previous Bahujan Samaj Party regime.

Earlier, the state vigilance department had sought government clearance for prosecuting as many as nine former ministers who were part of the Mayawati government.

Vigilance probe against former ministers — Mishra, Avadhpal Singh Yadav and Badshah Singh — is almost complete.

“The probe has found that the allegations of corruption against them are correct,” an official here said. The vigilance department has sought the government’s permission to file chargesheet against them.

Besides, the department has also sought its nod to register cases against former ministers Chandradeo Ram Yadav, Naseemuddin Siddique, Ramveer Upadhyay, Rakesh Dhar Tripathi and Babu Singh Kushwaha.

All these ministers have allegedly amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. Almost all of them allegedly owned hundreds of acres of land in different parts of the state, the officials said.

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