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Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to former Chief Engineer in Noida Authority, Yadav Singh who was languishing in jail since 2016 in connection with a fraud committed by him of approximately Rs 954 Crore through signing 1280 contract bonds within a span of eight days while he was serving as an engineer in Noida Authority.

A three Judge bench of a Supreme Court headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice K. M. Joseph & Justice V Ramasubramanian said, “Having heard learned counsel for the parties, we deem it appropriate to enlarge the petitioner (Yadav Singh) on bail, subject to the terms and conditions to be imposed by the trial court. However, since Mr. Tushar Mehta, learned Solicitor General has an apprehension that if let out on bail, evidence/witnesses may be tampered with, it will be open for the respondent to apply for cancellation.”

Solicitor General Mr Tushar Mehta counsel for CBI vehemently opposed the bail and argued that if petitioner (Yadav Singh) is released then he will influence the witnesses and evidence in trial. It was countered by Senior Advocate Mukul Rahtogi counsel for petitioner and he argued that the allegation of witness being influenced is wrong and he should be released on bail.

Apex Court decision came on an appeal against the order of the Allahabad High Court passed by Justice Ramesh Singh who had dismissed the bail application filed by Yadav Singh by stating that, “taking into account the manner in which the contracts were signed by the Yadav Singh in favour of persons of his liking, the fact that the work was predecided, the loss which has been caused to NOIDA Authorities amounting to several crores, the public money which was misused by him while serving as Chief Engineer in Noida Authority; and as has been submitted by CBI that various other contracts which were signed by him are still under investigation by the CBI, I find no good ground for grant of bail to him”.

The brief facts of the case are that a Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court in ‘Dr. Nutan Thakur vs. State of U.P. and others’ vide order dated 16.07.2015 has directed the CBI to conduct investigation into all allegations of corruption and amassing of unaccounted money by the applicant Yadav Singh, the then Chief Engineer, NOIDA Authority and in regard to all transactions, persons and entities connected thereto. Earlier, an FIR was registered against Yadav Singh and others vide Case Crime No. 371/2012 under Sections 120B IPC r/w 409, 420, 466, 467, 469, 471 IPC and under Sections 13 (1) (d) r/w 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on 13.01.2012 at Police Station Sector39, NOIDA, Gautam Budh Nagar, U.P. for the alleged corrupt practices while working as Executing Engineer between 14.12.2011 to 23.12.2011 in which agreement bonds for Rs. 954.38 crores were executed by the Engineering Department of NOIDA. The investigation of the case was completed and the State police submitted the closure report which was accepted by District and Sessions Judge, Gautam Budh Nagar on 27.11.2014. Thereafter, a Lucknow Bench on 16.07.2015 directed for investigation by CBI and in compliance of the order of Court, a Regular Case is registered against the applicant and unknown persons by CBI under Sections 120B IPC r/w 409, 420, 466, 467, 469, 471 IPC and under Sections 13 (1) (d) r/w 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The investigation of the case was entrusted to Sri Rajesh Kumar, Deputy Superintendent, CBI, STF, Delhi by Superintendent of Police, CBI, STF, Delhi vide order dated 30.07.2015.

Counsel for Yadav Singh had vehemently argued before the High court that he is languishing in jail since 2016 and trial proceedings are going on and all the other accused in the case enlarged on bail by the Apex Court. Counsel for him also drawn attention of the court that the allegation in the FIR alleged to have signed 1280 contract bonds amounting to Rs 954 Crores in span of eight days whereas chargesheets which have been submitted against him shows he had signed 288 contracts amounting to Rs 233 crores only.

It was then opposed by the CBI Counsel who had submitted that Yadav Singh was very powerful officer of the NOIDA Authority during the relevant period and he enjoyed close relations with many top bureaucrats and politicians of the State. Without his wishes, no major work could be awarded to any of the contractor in NOIDA Authority. He used to charge a bribe of 35 percent of the total project cost to award the work in favour of a particular contractor. Besides him, the other officers under him also used to get a fixed percentage of bribes from the respective contractors at various stages.

-India Legal Bureau 

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