As the BJP government in UP blamed the previous Samajwadi Party rule for the investment of over Rs 2,600 crore of the state power employees’ provident fund in scam-hit housing finance firm DHFL, former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday demanded the resignation of incumbent CM Yogi Adityanath and asserted that not a single penny of the provident fund was invested in the DHFL during the SP rule.
He also demanded a probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or High Court.
Speaking at a hurriedly press conference here, Akhilesh said, “If anyone is guilty, then it is the (BJP) government. If anyone is guilty, it is Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Yogi Adityanath should resign before he inaugurates the Medanta hospital built by the SP government.”
“It has come to light from newspaper reports that the Chief Minister has ordered a probe into PWD’s workings of the last two years. And then suddenly, the news comes that the CM has taken stock of things and there will be a probe of the power department’s functioning in the last two years. And the money was given to DHFL. You stay awake the whole night and order a CBI probe because you know the Opposition will ask questions. Because you want to hide the truth. My party and I feel that the probe into this scam should be done by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court. Till the time such a probe is done, the truth will not come out,” Akhilesh said, referring to the CM ordering the CBI probe into the case late on Saturday night.
“The BJP government is panicking and trying to hide the truth… If anyone has seen the FIR; everything is clear in it. The FIR, lodged by the government, clearly shows when the money was given to the DHFL. When the money was transferred, the Samajwadi Party was not in power in the state,” the former CM said, refuting the government’s allegation that the decision to invest provident fund money in the DHFL was taken during the SP rule.
“During the SP government, not a single penny of the provident fund was invested in the DHFL,” he added.
With the BJP government pointing fingers at the alleged “close proximity” of Akhilesh and former MD of UPPCL A P Mishra, who was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the case, Akhilesh said, “This department has several employees sitting at different posts, then you should take action against all of them. All officials should face action. If their government’s officials keep sitting on posts, how will the truth come out?”
The government has alleged that Mishra, an engineer-level official, was made MD of the power department and was given three extensions by the then Akhilesh government.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister’s Office official Twitter handle in a series of tweets alleged Mishra was close to Akhilesh. “Former UPPCL MD who was very close to Akhilesh Yadav got three extentions. He has been taken into custody. Akhilesh babu, what is this relation called),” the CMO office tweeted.
An official government spokesman said that Mishra was known as “arab pati Mishra”. “Mishra was sacked from his post on March 24, 2017, after Yogi Adityanath came to power. Apprehending his termination, Mishra took away many important files. He was the first engineer to be promoted as the MD of the UPPCL and was given extension thrice by Akhilesh after his retirement,” the spokesperson said, alleging that Mishra had sought the Samajwadi Party ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls and was involved in various scams during the previous regime.
Akhilesh, however, hit back, calling Aditynath a “weak” chief minister, and alleged that he does not have the support of his MLAs. “This government wants to save itself from the internal fight within it. If a vote is conducted of how many BJP MLAs with the CM, more than 300 will say they are not with the CM. The CM is so weak that he can’t remove its Power Minister (Shrikant Sharma). The CM would want the minister removed,” the SP chief said.
Later in the day, Power Minister Sharma said, “The allegations being levelled by Akhilesh Yadav are far from facts and he is hiding data. The press conference held by him was done for political reasons. It was during Akhilesh’s government that the decision (to invest in DHFL) was taken on April 21, 2014. The first investment was done on March 17, 2017. The decision on where employees’ provident fund will be invested is taken by the Trust. Akhilesh is now stuck. Action will be taken against those who have stolen provident fund of employees.”
—With PTI Inputs