LUCKNOW: Hitting out at the BJP for “showing its true colours,” former CM and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav accused the saffron party of misusing the CBI against him so as to stop him from clinching an alliance in UP while the Lok Sabha elections were round the corner.
However, the SP chief made it clear that he was ready to face the investigation agency, whenever, it was required. Interacting with the media persons here on Sunday, a day after reports that he may be summoned by the premier probe agency in a 2012 case of illegal mining in Hamirpur district, the SP chief called it a design to stop him in his endeavour of cobbling up an anti-BJP alliance in Uttar Pradesh ahead of 2019.
“BJP may conspire in as many ways as it wants but now the people are ready to respond with their verdict,” said the SP chief. He added that Samajwadi Party wanted to win maximum number of seats this time.
“But those, who want to stop us, have put CBI behind me,” he maintained. “If the CBI is conducting investigations and questions me, I will have to answer and I will respond to it,” he averred. He said BJP’s CBI card had made him happy as it would expose it. “The saffron party should know that whatever they do, they will have to face the consequences of the same later,” he asserted.
Drawing a parallel between the Congress and the BJP, he claimed what Congress used to do during its rule, BJP was following the same.. "Earlier the Congress would send CBI and now the BJP has done the same," he added. The former CM refused to comment on the SP-BSP alliance and the seat sharing formula saying go and get the seat sharing figures also from the CBI. However, later he said that the formal announcement about the alliance would be made soon.
Notably, the CBI had carried out searches at 14 locations on Saturday across Kanpur, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Lucknow, Noida and Delhi, in connection with its FIR against 11 persons including IAS officer B Chandrakala, Samajwadi Party MLC Ramesh Kumar Mishra and Sanjay Dixit (who unsuccessfully contested the 2017 assembly election on a BSP ticket) to probe alleged illegal mining of minor minerals in Hamirpur district during 2012-16. Minor minerals are like sand, gravels etc.
"The role of the then mining ministers concerned during the relevant period may be looked into during the course of investigation of the case," the FIR said. Akhilesh Yadav, who was the chief minister of the state between 2012 and 2017, held the mining portfolio during 2012-13 may be summoned by the CBI, according to the FIR.
He was succeeded by Gayatri Prajapati, who took charge as mining minister in 2013 and was arrested in 2017 in case of gang rape of a woman and molestation of her minor daughter residing in Chitrakoot. This is the third FIR pertaining to illegal mining cases which were registered by the agency on January 2, 2019, nearly two-and-a-half year after it was directed by the Allahabad High Court to probe the issue. The CBI was directed by the High Court on October 16, 2015 and it took over the case on July 28, 2016 to probe illegal mining in the state following which it had registered seven preliminary enquiries out of which two pertaining to Shamli and Kaushambi districts were converted into FIRs in 2017.
Meanwhile, reacting to the CBI action and SP chief’s subsequent statement over it, BJP spokeman Dr Chandramohan sought Akhilesh Yadav to come clear on reported corruption prevalent in mining department during his regime. “Uncontrolled illegal mining of minor minerals was going on in hamripur and other districts during SP rule even when the NGT had banned mining in Bundelkhand during his regime. The SP chief should clear the air on this,” said the BJP spokesman.