Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who had recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation probe in the multi-crore NH24 scam, appears to be under pressure from the Centre to withdraw the names of NHAI officials from a first information report lodged in this connection.
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had written to the Chief Minister last month seeking ‘corrective measures’, saying the case will have an adverse impact on the morale of the National Highway Authority of India officials and impede execution of projects.
NHAI Chairman Y S Mallik too recently wrote to Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S Ramaswamy asking him to re-examine the culpability of the NHAI officials and claimed that they had no role in changing the land use or determination of compensation paid to the landowners.
He also repeated Gadkari’s warning that it would be very difficult to expect NHAI officers to deliver on projects in the state if the situation persists.
The officials named in the FIR approached the Uttarakhand high court on Tuesday seeking a stay on their arrest.
The high court issued notices to the Udham Singh Nager ADM and the private parties whose land had been acquired for construction of the national highway and fixed the matter for next hearing on July 28.
Alleged irregularities running into Rs 240 crore in the acquisition of land for national highway 74 located in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand were detected in March this year.