New Delhi: Ahead of the crucial by-elections in Uttar Pradesh, two key opposition leaders, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, seem to be in big trouble as the CBI probes two fresh cases of corruption involving the two.
The Rs 1,100-crore sugar mills scam which unravels the bureaucrat-political nexus, in selling state assets, involves BSP Supremo Mayawati’s former Secretary Netram while multi-crore sand mining scam links Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav’s aide Gayatri Prajapati with six bureaucrats.
CBI sources said that after Wednesday’s raids at various premises of former SP Minister Prajapti and three IAS officers in UP, the agency can question Akhilesh Yadav during whose tenure(as CM of UP) the mining scam surfaced.
Sources said that before Gayatri Prajapati was appointed as Cabinet Minister, the then CM Akhilesh Yadav held the mining portfolio from March 2012 to July 2013. During this period, the CM office had reportedly approved several files related to lease of mines. The agency would be auditing these files to ascertain whether the CM office had followed the laid-down procedure.
In Gayatri Prajapati’s case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) discovered that mandatory e-tendering norms were grossly violated. Prajapati, as Minister, allegedly approved the lease directly for the contractors of his choice. Subsequently on instruction of Prajapati, his subordinates, the Mining Secretary and District Magistrates, signed on the files to execute the lease.
Source said that though Prajapati was later sacked by Akhilesh Yadav, the violations allegedly attributed to him were blatantly ignored by the CM office. As of now CBI is gathering more evidence on the scam and would further interrogate three IAS officers, to establish the role of the CM office.
Mayawati too seems to be in deep waters. For Mayawati the problem stems from the fact that her most trusted bureaucrat Netram has been raided by CBI in the sugar mills scam. Sources said that Mayawati’s fate now depends on the disclosure statement of Netram, relating to the approvals of disinvestment of 21 sugar mills. According to the CBI FIR, the sugar mills were sold out at throwaway prices during the year 2010-11. Mayawati was the Chief Minister from 2007 to 2012.
Sources said that Netram, who ruled the roost in UP during Mayawati’s chief ministership, has earlier faced Income Tax raids over a suspected tax evasion case amounting to Rs 100 crore. Another close aide of Mayawati, Vinay Priya Dubey, the then MD of UP State Sugar Corporation has also been raided by the CBI in sugar mills scam.
Sources said Mayawati who managed to steer clear of the Disproportionate Case earlier now faces a tough time as the probe agency interrogates her inner cotorie in the scandal, which rocked politics in Lucknow.
Published on: July 11, 2019 at 20:34 IST