HC orders removal of NOIDA chairman, CEO over old charges

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday directed removal of NOIDA Chairman Rakesh Bahadur and Chief Executive Officer Sanjeev Saran, ordering a CBI inquiry into the charges against them.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Amitava Lala and Justice P K S Baghel passed the judgment on a petition filed by the Madhav Samaj Nirman Samiti, a social organisation.

The two officials had been appointed by the Samajwadi Party government on May 4. The court also directed that the two officers not be posted in western UP for the next six months and not be given charge of other industrial authorities such as Greater Noida Authority and Yamuna Expressway Development Authority, said the counsel for the petitioner.

The Madhav Samaj Samiti had accused the officials of financial misappropriation during their previous tenure in the same posts, between 2005 and 2007, and sought their removal. At that time too, the state had an SP government. The two were accused of allotting plots to the hotel industry in the NOIDA township at Rs 7,400 per sq m, instead of the market rate of Rs 74,000 per sq m, leading to losses to the exchequer to the tune of over Rs 4,000 crore.

The high court directed the CBI to inquire into allegations regarding their previous tenures and submit a report within six months. Confirming the order to remove the two officers, Standing Counsel for NOIDA Shivam Yadav said: "We are yet to get a copy of the order. The terms and references for the CBI inquiry will become clear once we get the order."

During an initial hearing of the petition, another division bench of the high court had asked UP to reconsider its decision to post the two officers on the same positions in the backdrop of the allegations against them.

After the BSP government took over in 2007, an FIR was registered against them, and the officers suspended. However, their suspensions was revoked around the time the term of the BSP government was coming to an end.

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