Another of Mayawatis ministers has run into trouble with the state Lokayukta,this time for claiming that he had threatened to get the anti-corruption ombudsman removed if he didnt drop the cases against him.
Reacting to Energy Minister Ramveer Upadhyays alleged remarks at a public meeting in Hathras on Friday,Lokayukta N K Mehrotra said he would consider initiating contempt of court proceedings after verifying the ministers statement. He asked the Election Commission (EC) to take cognizance of the speech and see if it violated the election model code of conduct. The Election Commission has sought a report from the district election officer.
Several members of the Mayawati ministry have been facing the heat from the Lokayukta,with many forced to step down. The Lokayukta had taken up charges against Upadhyay but closed the investigation in November,saying that three petitions against the minister over the same allegations were pending in the Allahabad High Court,and matters in court couldnt be considered by him.
Addressing the Hathras rally,Upadhyay referred to this,adding that he had held a two-hour meeting with Mehrotra at his home. Mainey unko samjhaya hi nahin,unko bataya ki tum kya ho aur kya kar sakte ho,aur hum kya hain aur kya kar sakte hain (I didnt just convince him,I told him what he is and what he can do,and what I am and what I can do), Upadhyay said.
According to the minister,Mehrotra called him home,saying he didnt have the stature to call a Ramveer Upadhyay to his office. Upadhyay claimed he had told the Lokayukta that but for the fact that they shared old ties,he would have gone to the Supreme Court and have him removed.
Upadhyay said Mehrotra had admitted that he had committed a great wrong.
In his reaction today,the Lokayukta denied having any personal relationship with Upadhyay and said he had only allowed the minister to visit him at his official residence as the latter had requested for the same.
He felt Upadhyay could have been provoked into making such remarks as ministers were anxious and suspicious of him following his investigations.
Upadhyay could not be contacted by The Sunday Express despite several attempts.
Charges against Upadhyay
* Energy Minister Ramveer Upadhyay is accused of owning disproportionate assets,misusing his MLA area development fund,kidnapping a member of a block development committee in Hathras and influencing the investigation of a criminal case. Lokayukta had closed investigation in these cases as PILs are lodged in the same cases in the high court.
* Lokayukta is currently probing two more complaints of corruption made against Upadhyay by the BJP,accusing him of causing losses of crores in contracts with private power firms