The Allahabad high court recently pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government over non-compliance of its stern order for the removal of two top officials of the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority. But the state administration is still dilly-dallying over the issue.
Undue influence wielded by a NOIDA industrialist was stated to be the main reason behind Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's reluctance in removing the two officials. The industrialist was known for his proximity to Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was allegedly trying to shield NOIDA chairman Ralesh Bahadur and Chief Executive Officer Sanjeev Saran.
A high court division bench headed by Justice Vikram Nath on Monday declared December 14 as the deadline for the removal of the two officers.
But UP Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani and Advocate General S P Gupta are allegedly trying to thrash out ways and means to defer implantation of the court order.
The court order came in response to a contempt petition highlighting how the UP government had not cared to implement the high court's order of November 9, which explicitly called for the removal of both officers.
They were facing grave charges of allotment of commercial plots at throwaway prices during their earlier stints in the same capacity under the previous Samajwadi Party regime headed by Akhilesh's father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Both Rakesh Bahadur and Sanjeev Saran, who had flown down to Lucknow, were also stated to have held prolonged parleys with the chief secretary.
The two were placed under suspension by the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party government, which had also ordered a probe against them.
When the SP returned to power after the state election in March this year, both officers were back in these powerful posts.
Shortly thereafter, NOIDA-based Madhav Samaj Kalyan Samiti moved a public interest litigation, alleging corruption by the senior officials.
Taking serious note of the issues raised in the PIL, the court has now directed the government to give marching orders to both Rakesh Bahadur and Sanjeev Saran, who were alleged to have amassed huge wealth during their tenures in NOIDA.
Significantly, the court has also directed the state government not to give any posting to them in any part of western UP.
This is a rare case when top bureaucrats have been removed from key positions on the direction of the judiciary, following grave charges of corruption.
Nearly a decade ago, two UP chief secretaries -- Akhand Pratap Singh and Neera Yadav -- had to abdicate their positions on the direction of the Supreme Court.