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ED raids multiple states over Akhilesh govt's Gomti riverfront project

The CBI had taken over the investigation after the present Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh ordered an inquiry into the beautification project of the Gomti riverfront

Gomti project
A view of the redeveloped Gomti Riverfront

The Enforcement Directorate Thursday conducted multiple searches across various states in connection with its money laundering probe into the Rs 1,500-crore Gomti riverfront development project in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, official sources said.

The project was begun by the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) dispensation.

Sources said the raids were being carried out in various premises of the accused and their associates in Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow and Noida), Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan by a team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials assisted by local police.

The teams are looking for documents and evidence, they said.

The central probe agency had filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in March last year. The ED case was filed after taking cognisance of a CBI FIR.

The CBI had taken over the investigation after the present Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh ordered an inquiry into the beautification project of the Gomti riverfront.

The Yogi Adityanath government had asked for an investigation into irregularities committed with a "criminal intent" in the implementation of the Gomti River Channelisation Project and the Gomti River Front Development by the state's Department of Irrigation.

The CBI had filed an FIR against then chief engineers Gulesh Chandra, S N Sharma, Qazim Ali, then superintendent engineers Mangal Yadav, Akhil Raman, Kamaleshwar Singh, Roop Singh Yadav and executive engineer Surendra Yadav.

Gulesh Chandra, Mangal Yadav, Akhil Raman and Roop Singh Yadav have retired.

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 dated May 16, 2017.

The Uttar Pradesh Police had registered a case on June 19 on the basis of this report.

The state government subsequently sought a CBI probe into the matter in July 2017.

The Centre referred the matter to the CBI on November 24, 2017 on the basis of which the agency took over the investigation in the matter.

The Rs 1,500-crore project involved construction of a rubber dam to maintain its water level, a stadium, an amphitheatre for 2,000 people, cycle and jogging tracks, a play area for children and a musical fountain.

Official sources said only 60 per cent of the planned work is complete but a much bigger proportion of the allotted amount spent so far.