The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh has given second terms to Sanjeev Saran and Rakesh Bahadur as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of Noida authority, respectively. While the appointments were being decided, the posts laid vacant for 49 days. The duo had been serving as CEO and chairman from 2003 to 2007, during the earlier Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh.
The officers were credited with metro planning in Noida as the contract with DMRC for Noida metro was signed during the tenure of Sanjeev Sara. The transfers were cleared late Thursday night by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in consultation with his father and Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and the decision put to rest one of the longest waits for the crucial posts. The post had become a headache for the state government as Noida postings were mired in many controversies in the past.
While many names were being discussed for the key posts, the will of the former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was in favour of both these officials who occupied the same posts during his tenure [2003-2007], prevailed.
The Chief Minister was reportedly not in favour of the two officials initially as they were facing investigations by the state government agencies as well as the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The then Mayawati government had suspended both Saran and Bahadur on 10 August 2009 and had ordered registration of criminal cases against them for alleged involvement in allocation of plots in Noida for construction of five-star hotels.
The action had come two years after the government had cancelled the said allotments, made in 2006, during the previous Mulayam Singh government, and alleged that irregularities caused a loss of Rs 4,721 crore to the state exchequer.
As the Mayawati government had cancelled the allotment of 14 plots on 3 August 2007, the allottees had challenged the government decision in Allahabad High Court. The court quashed the cancellation order and asked the government to give the allottees personal hearing and then pass an order. The Mayawati government had again cancelled the allotments after hearings.
Meanwhile, the Mayawati government on 12 August 2010 got cases lodged against 15 officials, including Bahadur and Saran, and a departmental charge sheet had also been served to them during pendency of the case in the court. However, the hotels moved the Supreme Court on 5 July 2011, which ruled that no nepotism, corruption or favouritism took place.
On 11 May 2010, the enforcement directorate had registered a case of money-laundering and issued notices to three serving and one retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers of Uttar Pradesh cadre. The serving officers who were issued notices were Bahadur, Saran and Ravindra K. Nair (assistant CEO) as well as Devdutt, who also served as Noida CEO and retired in 2010, was also slapped with the notice.
The action had come after the ED had taken suo motu cognizance of 'inputs' on money-laundering in connection with the Noida land scam that took place during Mulayam Singh Yadav's last innings as chief minister of UP.