In a massive blow to the Samajwadi Party, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav may face a CBI probe in a case of illegal sand mining. According to the CBI sources, all those who were ministers during the relevant period will also be investigated.
The CBI conducted raids at 14 locations including Kanpur, Lucknow, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Noida, Kanpur and Delhi, yesterday in connection with an FIR against 11 persons including IAS officer B Chandrakala, Samajwadi Party MLC Ramesh Kumar Mishra and Sanjay Dixit (who had lost 2017 assembly elections on a BSP ticket). The allegations are that some government officials along with some individuals violated rules and regulations and allocated some illegal mining sites in the period between 2012-2016. The agency conducted these raids to investigate the allegations of illegal mining of minor minerals in the Hamirpur district during 2012-16. The FIR stated that Chandrakala, a 2008 batch IAS officer who was the district magistrate of the Hamirpur district during 2012-14 had allegedly violated the e-tender system of allotting mining contracts in the district. The FIR said, “the role of the then mining ministers concerned during the relevant period may be looked into during the course of the investigation of the case.”
What must be borne in mind is the fact that the Samajwadi Party supremo, Akhilesh Yadav who was the chief minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh also held the mining portfolio during 2012-13, which brings his role under the scanner. This happens to be the third FIR in connection with the illegal mining cases. It was registered on January 2, 2019. The CBI had been directed by the Allahabad High Court on July 28, 2016 to investigate illegal mining in the state. Seven preliminary inquiries were made thereafter out of which two were converted into FIRs in 2017. Those two FIRs pertained to Shamli and Kaushambi.
In what suggests further trouble for the Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party, senior officials said that cases pertaining to the Fatehpur, Deoria, Saharanpur and Siddharth Nagar districts will be filed soon. This suggests that as the CBI is going to move forward in the case, the Akhilesh Yadav led party might land in deep trouble.
The Samajwadi Party which must have been left red-faced after this development has expectedly tried raising questions about the intentions of the government. SP spokesperson, Abdul Hafiz Gandhi told News18, “the party welcomes the CBI action but the timings do raise questions. Especially since this is coming right after stories of SP-BSP alliance in the media.”
However, it is clear that there is nothing wrong as far as the intentions of the government are concerned. The law is taking its course and in the process, wrongdoings under the previous government are getting exposed. In fact, the CBI is moving ahead in this case in accordance with the directions of the Allahabad High Court as per a 2016 order. The Akhilesh Yadav led party would definitely feel the heat as it has been exposed at a time when it would have hated to. The allegations become even more serious given the fact that Akhilesh Yadav himself held the mining portfolio during 2012-13, as a result of which even his role comes under the scanner. What is particularly disconcerting for the SP is the fact that there may be more cases registered in the future. It seems that its wrongdoings of the past have cone back to haunt the Samajwadi Party.