SP govt asks Lokayukta to begin probe into sale of sugar mills

Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta NK Mehrotra on Monday received a letter from the state government, asking him to probe the sale of 21 sugar mills during the BSP government which, according to a CAG audit, had caused a loss of Rs 1,179 crore to the exchequer. Among the beneficiaries of the sale are reportedly companies owned by Ponty Chadha, who along with his brother Hardeep, was killed in a fratricidal fight in Delhi last Saturday.

On November 6, the Cabinet had taken a decision to hand over the inquiry to the Lokayukta. The letter sent by Rajeev Kumar, Principal Secretary (Vigilance), asking the Lokayukta to conduct an inquiry into the sale of sugar mills and use whatever procedure he may consider suitable.

Mehrotra said first he will ask the state government to provide him a copy of the CAG report to study it. After which he will decide on the procedure which will be followed to conduct the inquiry, he said.

Mehrotra said Ponty Chadha's death will not affect his inquiry in any way, but he may have to question the functionaries of his companies if it was found that the companies had entered into any conspiracy with government officials.

He said his probe will be targetted at finding out the procedural mistakes in the sale of sugar mills, including the process of disinvestment of sugar mills and process of evaluating the cost of these mills, which caused the financial loss to the government. The inquiry will also identify the role of government functionaries who were responsible for the loss to the exchequer.

The 21 sugar mills sold by the state government included 10 run by the UP State Sugar Corporation Limited in Amroha, Chandpur, Jarval Road, Siswan Bazar, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr, Bijnor, Sakhauti Tanda, Rohanakala and Khadda, and 11 closed mills of UP Rajya Chini Evam Ganna Vikas Nigam Limited in Bareilly, Hardoi, Barabanki, Shahganj, Baitalpur, Deoria, Bhatni, Ghughli, Chhitauni, Ramkola and Laxmiganj.

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