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UP recommends Sharma's dismissal in Taj case

October 23, 2004 17:47 IST

The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday recommended the dismissal of former environment secretary R K Sharma and withholding of retirement benefits of former chief secretary D S Bagga for their alleged role in Rs 175 crore Taj heritage corridor scam.

The decisions were taken on the basis of findings of a departmental inquiry ordered by the state government, official sources said in Lucknow.
Since both officials belong to the Indian Administrative Service cadre, the recommendations have been sent to the Union Public Service Commission, which will seek the Union government's advice, the sources said.

The state government will present its 'action taken report' in the Supreme Court on Monday, advocate general of the state, Virendra Bhatia said.

Sharma, under suspension, is said to be instrumental in clearing the project during the regime of Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati.

With regard to then principal secretary to the chief minister, P L Punia, and tourism secretary V K Gupta, Bhatia said the government would seek further time from the apex court as inquiries against them were on.

Bhatia said the dismissal and withholding of pension and gratuity were punishments that will be carried out only after clearance from the UPSC.

The multi-crore Taj heritage corridor project, a brainchild of Mayawati, came into focus after a public interest litigation was filed in the SC last year, alleging irregularities.
The SC entrusted the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the scam.

The SC, on the basis of an interim report of the CBI, directed the state government to set up a departmental inquiry against the four officials and to suspend them pending the inquiry.

The Mayawati government had planned to develop parks, shopping complexes and markets along the banks of the River Yamuna between the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, without seeking clearance from Union ministries, including the Environment Ministry.

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