Amid hammering out a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party, BSP chief Mayawati dialled SP president Akhilesh Yadav and extended her full support to him after reports suggested he might be quizzed by the CBI in connection with a mining scam. Other Opposition parties, including the Congress, have been critical of the CBI’s reported move to question Akhilesh.
Amid Opposition uproar, the CBI on Monday dished out details of the illegal mining case and claimed that then UP Chief Minister Akhilesh’s office had cleared 13 projects on a single day on February 17, 2017, in violation of the e-tender policy that was ratified by the Allahabad High Court on January 29, 2013.
“Do not be shaken by such gimmicks,” Mayawati told Akhilesh on Sunday, while trashing reports on SP chief’s impending questioning by CBI as “political animosity” of the ruling BJP against Opposition parties. The BSP chief alleged like the Congress, the ruling BJP is “misusing” the Government machinery to “trap” its opponents in false cases.
“The CBI raids and later the threat of quizzing by the CBI in a mining scam is nothing but political animosity of the BJP. Such petty politics and political conspiracy are not new for the BJP. The people of the country have understood it and they will teach the BJP a lesson in the Lok Sabha polls,” she said in a Press release.
Mayawati called up Akhilesh on Sunday and talked to him over the issue, the release said.
“The day news of the SP-BSP top leadership meeting came out, the BJP Government used the CBI and raids were conducted in an old mining scam and the news of quizzing Akhilesh Yadav was deliberately spread. Is it not an action to defame the SP-BSP alliance?” Mayawati said.
Akhilesh may face a CBI probe in a case of illegal mining, according to the agency FIR made public on Saturday, the day the SP and the BSP indicated their intent to join hands in UP to contest the BJP in the Parliamentary polls. The agency had also carried out searches at 14 locations.
“If this CBI action is not a political conspiracy, then why did BJP leaders issue statements and why did a BJP leader and minister acted as CBI spokesperson,” she posed.
Claiming that she was “framed” in the Taj corridor case in 2003 when she did not agree to an alliance for the 2004 general elections, Mayawati said, “But later people took revenge and the BSP got absolute majority in the 2007 Assembly polls.”
The BSP chief reminded Akhilesh of these past incidents and asked him not to get shaken while asserting that people will give a befitting reply to the BJP.
The BSP chief also alleged that the BJP after coming to power in 2014 had been misusing Government machinery for political gains and threatening rivals and giving relief “to BJP leaders in criminal cases”.
Terming the CBI raids “politically motivated”, the SP chief had on Sunday also questioned the credibility of the federal probe agency. Uttar Pradesh has 80 Parliamentary constituencies, making it the most politically crucial State for the general elections.
The CBI on Monday claimed that on February 17, 2017 the leases were granted by Hamirpur District Magistrate B Chandrakala after getting approval from the Chief Minister’s office in violation of its 2012 e-tender policy, which was ratified by the Allahabad High Court on January 29, 2013.
Chandrakala, an IAS officer, Samajwadi Party MLC Ramesh Kumar Mishra and Sanjay Dixit (who unsuccessfully contested the 2017 Assembly polls on a BSP ticket) besides eight others are named accused in the CBI case to probe illegal mining of minor minerals in Hamirpur district during 2012-16.
Yadav, who was the Chief Minister of the State between 2012 and 2017, held the mining portfolio during 2012-13 apparently bringing his role under scanner. He was succeeded by Gayatri Prajapati, who took charge as mining minister in 2013 and was arrested in 2017 following a complaint of rape by a woman residing in Chitrakoot.
This is the third FIR relating to illegal mining cases which was registered by the agency on January 2 this year, nearly two-and-a-half years after it was directed by the Allahabad High Court to probe the matter.