Samajwadi Party chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on January 6 said he was ready to face the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after reports suggested that the investigative agency was likely to quiz him in an illegal mining case.
Yadav statement comes a day after CBI searched 14 locations across Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in connection with the case. The investigative agency is probing the case on the orders of the Allahabad High Court.
In its First Information Report (FIR), CBI said, “The role of then mining ministers concerned during the relevant period may be looked into in the course of investigation.”
Yadav was one of the two Cabinet ministers to have held the portfolio during the said period.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also demanded a CBI investigation into the case.What is the case all about?
It is alleged that public servants, in conspiracy with other accused, allowed illegal mining of minor minerals in UP’s Hamirpur district during 2012-16.
It is suspected that the accused had illegally granted fresh leases for sand mining, renewed existing leases and permitted obstructed period to the existing leaseholders, thereby caused wrongful loss to the government exchequer while making undue gains themselves.
Both, Yadav and his former Cabinet colleague Gayatri Prajapati, had held the mining portfolio during this period. Yadav held the ministry since government formation in March 2012 till June 2013. Prajapati held the portfolio from June 2013 to March 2017, when the government’s tenure ended.
CBI has reportedly registered a case against the then District Magistrate (DM) of Hamirpur, then Geologist/Mining Officer, then Mining Clerk and eight others under Prevention of Corruption Act. Others include lease holders, private persons, other unknown public servants and unknown persons.
State minister Sidharth Nath Singh alleged that Yadav's tenure as Chief Minister was a story of loot of minerals and that he presided over a government that was hand in glove with the mining syndicate.In light of recent developments
The developments came at a time when reports suggested that SP and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had reached an agreement on seat-sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
"Samajwadi Party is making efforts to win maximum Lok Sabha seats. Those who want to stop us, have the CBI with them. Once the Congress did (undertook a) CBI probe, and I was questioned. If the BJP is doing all this, (then) the CBI will question me. I will answer (them). But the people are ready to give an answer to the BJP," Yadav said.
Taking a swipe, Yadav said, "Now we have to tell the CBI as to how many seats we have distributed in the gathbandhan. I am happy that at least the BJP has shown its colours. Earlier, the Congress gave us a chance to meet the CBI, and this time it is the BJP which has given us this opportunity."(With inputs from PTI)