The ongoing war of words between the opposition and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh over the Rs 2,600-crore power employees’ EPF scam took a new twist on Thursday when Energy Minister Shrikant Sharma served a defamation notice on UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu over his reported statement against him on his alleged link with the DHFL.
The minister, in his three-page notice sent to the UP Congress president, charged that Ajay Kumar Lallu’s statement against the minister was an effort to malign his image and linked him with the terror organisations led by Dawood Ibrahim and Iqbal Mirchi.
The minister has asked the UP Congress president to tender personal apology for his statement within seven days of receiving the notice.
If Lallu fails to do so, a defamation suit will be filed in the court under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code while claiming damages.
Under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC, a person can be punished for two years jail.
Giving details of the statements made by the Congress leader on November 4 and 5, the defamation notice, served by lawyer Anurag Kumar Singh, said that it was totally wrong and mischievous of a leader to allege that the DHFL officials met the minister at his official and Mathura residences.
During a press conference on November 3, the UP Congress chief alleged that the minister visited Dubai for 10 days in September-October, 2017 to meet the DHFL officials. He also alleged that the minister was handing the deal between DHFL and Sunblick company of the underworld.
“But the minister has never visited Dubai or any other foreign country in his life,” the notice says, adding that the UP Congress president had conspired for his (Sharma’s) character assassination by trying to link him with the underworld.
A Trust manages the provident fund of the power employees and Sharma neither occupies any position in it nor has a role in it, the PRO of the minister said.
The minister also reiterated that the decision to invest in the DHFL was taken during the previous government headed by Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.
Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday said UP Power Corporation employees’ demand for bringing all facts pertaining to the EPF scam was justified and the BJP government should give an account of every penny.
“Employees of UP Power department have called for bringing all facts forward with regard to the PF scam. This demand of theirs is absolutely justified. During elections, employees of several UP departments had raised concerns over the new pension scheme. The Congress party is with them. The BJP government will have to give an account of every penny of theirs,” Priyanka said in a tweet in Hindi. She has been targeting the BJP government in UP on the issue.