CBI court to hear Taj Corridor case today

November 14th, 2007 - 1:47 am ICT by admin  
Judge Rekha Dixit had deferred the hearing after the counsel for one of the accused — former Uttar Pradesh Environment Principal Secretary R K Sharma - moved an application seeking an adjournment.

Sharma had filed an intervention plea in the matter.

Uttar Pradesh Governor TV Rajeswar had earlier refused to accord sanction to prosecute Mayawati and former State Environment Minister Naseemuddin Siddique in the case.

Besides Sharma, the other accused in the scam are Rajendra Prasad, an under secretary and a former IAS officer V K Gupta.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had reserved its judgement on an application filed by the amicus curiae in the case challenging the order of Rajeswar refusing sanction to prosecute Mayawati under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

A bench comprising Justices S B Sinha, S H Kapadia and B K Jain reserved its verdict after hearing the amicus Kishan Mahajan and Solicitor General G E Vahanvati on behalf of the Centre.

The CBI has been probing the case over the past three years, under direct monitoring of the Supreme Court. In November 2006, it set aside the CBI’s status report seeking closure of the case.

The Taj Corridor Project proposed to give a facelift to the areas surrounding Agra’s major monuments along the Yamuna. Included in the venture was a blueprint for a swanky shopping mall.

The plan was put forward by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and consultancy firm German Technical Cooperation in 2001.

It was part of a series of proposals collectively referred to as the ‘Environment Management Plan - Agra’.

Under the project, the CPCB had conceptualised a heritage corridor covering five historical monuments, including Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Ram Bagh, Etmad-ud-Daula’s tomb and Chini ka Rauza.

All this was in disregard of the guidelines laid down by the Environment Ministry and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The grandiose scheme fell to pieces when it came under media scrutiny in mid-June 2003. (ANI)

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