The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has rapped the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh for pulling down a sports stadium here to make room for the expansion of a monument with statues of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP) icons.
The CAG report, tabled before the state assembly on Thursday, took serious note of the fact that the stadium and its adjoining research centre-cum-museum buildings were barely six-10 years old. "It was absolutely illegal for the government to have blown off these buildings with dynamite," the report observed.
As per the report, the stadium was built by the state government in 1998 on a 15-acre plot of land in Lucknow's posh Gomati Nagar at a cost of Rs 6.75 crore. Four years later in 2002, a research centre-cum-museum was raised on an adjoining seven-acre plot at a cost of Rs 26 crore.
The report has also questioned the recommendation of a technical committee for the demolition.
"It is quite apparent that the sanction given by a specially appointed technical committee to pull down the buildings was just an eyewash." said the report. "You cannot ignore the fact that the constitution of the technical committee and its approval for demolition were done on the same day," it added.
The CAG also clearly disapproved of the government's decision to install statues on the debris of the stadium and research centre.
"Erecting statues etc in place of the stadium and the research centre-cum-museum was absolutely wrong," the report said. It also disapproved of several other "wasteful expenditures" undertaken by Mayawati during her government's last stint between 2002-2003.
The demolition exercise has come under fire from the opposition quarters.
Flaying the chief minister for her brazen and arbitrary acts, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaderPramod Tiwari said: "Now that the CAG has taken such strong exception to Mayawati's whimsical attitude towards use of the tax-payer's money, she should come out with a white paper on the issue."
"The CAG's report is sufficient testimony to the large scale financial bunglings that were rampant during the BSP government's rule in the state," Tiwari said.
Samajwadi Partydeputy leader in the house Ambika Chaudhary sought a high-level probe into the entire episode and said: "The CAG has rightly criticised Mayawati for such gross misuse of the tax-payer's money."