Illegal mining case: Cong and Mayawati back Akhilesh; blame Modi govt of playing dirty politics

The Congress on Monday alleged that the Modi govt was trying to foil an alliance between the SP and BSP in UP by using the CBI against former CM Akhilesh Yadav in the alleged illegal mining case

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The Congress on Monday alleged that the Modi government was trying to foil an alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh by using the CBI against former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in the alleged illegal mining case.

"They did not spare any of the opposition parties be it Congress, NCP, RJD, TMC, DMK, TDP and others in the last four-and-a-half years. Now they have started doing the same with Samajwadi Party. They are trying to stall the alliance between the SP and the BSP," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters outside Parliament.

He said the CBI action, ahead of the coming Lok Sabha polls, was an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party to threaten the opposition parties.

"Today democracy is in danger. We condemn the CBI action against (Samajwadi Party leader) Akhilesh Yadav. The country is not going to tolerate this kind of dictatorship," he said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also slammed the Modi government for "shamelessly unleashing" the CBI on Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and said it is time to throw out "this dictatorial and undemocratic regime".

Azad said opposition parties had joined hands in the past against Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi but they never treated opposition the way the the current ruling dispensation was treating those opposed to it.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati has accrued the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to intimidate and arm-twist its political rivals through government agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). She spoke to Akhilesh Yadav, with whose party the BSP is negotiating an alliance, and told him that such tactics were nothing new as the BJP always indulged in such "dirty politics and electoral conspiracies".

Amid reports that the CBI is likely to quiz Akhilesh Yadav in the illegal mining case, the Samajwadi Party chief said he is ready to face the probe agency, but people are also ready to answer the BJP.

Talking to reporters in Lucknow, he said the BJP is leaving a "culture", which may be used against it in the future.

"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 CBI probe, and I was questioned. If the BJP is doing all this, the CBI will question me, I will answer (them). But, the people are ready to give an answer to the BJP," Yadav said.

"Why is the CBI conducting raids. Whatever they want to ask, they can ask me. However, the BJP should remember that the culture it is leaving behind, it may have to face it in the future," he said.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister may face a probe by the CBI, according to the agency FIR made public on Saturday, the day arch rivals SP and BSP indicated their intent to join hands to counter the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The CBI carried out searches at 14 locations Saturday 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

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 the chance to meet the CBI, and this time it is the BJP, which has given us this opportunity." The SP chief also accused the BJP of ending 'political etiquette'. "The BJP wants that other political parties should behave in the same manner as it behaves. But, we will not change our political etiquette," he said.

The CBI carried out searches at 14 locations Saturday 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.

It is alleged that the lady IAS officer in her capacity as the DM of Hamirpur in 2012 had allocated 50 sand mining leases overriding the e-tendering process, laid down by the then government.

The official said that the CBI team recovered a few documents and seized a bank locker and two bank accounts of the IAS officer.

From the residence of Adil Khan, the agency collected the documents related to mining. "We found that the mining licence to him was provided on the recommendation of then Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati," he said.

The official said the agency recovered ₹12.5 lakh and 1.8 kg gold from the residence of Moinuddin in Hamirpur and ₹2 crore and two kg gold from the residence of the retired clerk of the Mining Department Ram Avtar Singh in Jalon.

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, according to the FIR.

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 a 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.

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