SC notice to UP ex-chief secy in Noida land scam

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Indicting the Noida Authority for its “arbitrary” actions, the Supreme Court issued showcause notices to former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Neera Yadav, her two daughters and others as to why the allotment of their prized plots in Noida should not be cancelled in view of the aberration from the norms.

Rejecting the submission of the Authority that all necessary steps had already been taken, a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda issued notices to Neera Yadav and her daughters Suruchi and Sanskriti.

The court issued showcause notices to another IAS officer, Rajiv Kumar, who along with Neera Yadav, had been convicted by a CBI court in a Noida land allotment case. Shankar Sitapati and Flex Industries were also out on notice.

“We direct that notices be issued to all the persons named to show cause as to why allotments/alternative allotments made in their favour may not be quashed. The notices are made returnable in 10 weeks,” the bench said, while directing Noida CEO to serve the notices to them.

The bench was hearing a PIL that has pointed to grave illegalities in the allotment and conversion of plots. According to the petition, several people were initially allotted plots at different locations, but got larger plots in better places after conversion and payment of transfer charges.

Senior advocate U U Lalit, who appeared for the Authority, had pleaded the bench to close the matter in all the cases in view of the orders passed by the competent authority in compliance of the directions given by the court.

However, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who was appointed amicus curiae in the case, termed the action taken in these cases as an “eyewash and vitiated due to malafides”.

He pointed out that once conversion of the plots of Neera, Suruchi, Sanskriti, Rajiv and Sitapati was cancelled, there could be no justification for allotment of alternative plots to them equivalent to the plots initially allotted.

He further contended that the Authority had not given any explanation as to what action was taken in the case of one Shyam Narayan Mishra, who was found guilty of fraud leading to cancellation of the allotment, and wondered how fresh allotment could be made to various persons after cancellation of conversion.

According to Dhawan, allotment made to the same group of industries, Flex Industries Ltd and Flex Engineering Ltd was also ex-facie illegal because the law did not permit allotment of more than one plot to the same entity.

The court underlined merit in Dhawan’s criticism and held that alternative allotments clearly demonstrated “the arbitrary character of the action taken by Noida Authority”.

It gave allottees six weeks for a response.


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