Former minister, BSP MLC quizzed in LACCFED scam

The special investigation bureau (SIB) of Co-operative cell today questioned former minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi, BSP MLC Ashok Katiyar and former Labour and Construction Co-operative Federation (LACCFED) managing director (MD) Ramhet Gupta regarding their role in alleged embezzlement of fund meant for construction under various government projects during 2010-2011.

An SIB official said that Tripathi, who had been higher education minister in the previous government, allegedly got Rs 40 crore released to LACCFED for construction of buildings of educational institutions. The investigation had found that LACCFED officials had given 10 per cent of the allocated fund (Rs 4 crore) to Tripathi as cut money, but it was returned by him after a month. A LACCFED executive engineer DK Sahu was arrested two days ago for siphoning off Rs 4 crore which was returned by Tripathi.

Tripathi was summoned today for questioning in this regard, but he denied that any fund was allocated to LACCFED from the higher education department for any work, the SIB official confirmed. The official said that they will collect documents related to the work allotted to LACCFED by the higher education department and will summon Tripathi again.

Bahujan Samaj Party MLC Ashok Katiyar too denied his role in the embezzlement, but told SIB that former LACCFED chairman Sushil Katiyar had close links with then co-operative minister Babu Singh Kushwaha and had earned several crores of rupees through illegal means using Kushwaha's influence, the official confirmed. He also said that the SIB is collecting corroborating evidence about the MLC's role in the scam.

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