Lokayukta Probe: Curious case of withdrawing cases against mining ministerhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/lokayukta-probe-curious-case-of-withdrawing-cases-against-mining-minister/

Lokayukta Probe: Curious case of withdrawing cases against mining minister

Most of the people called for evidence by Lokayukta N K Mehrotra in his six-month long probe have declined to confirm the allegations against the minister.

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Uttar Pradesh Mining Minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati.

Three persons, of the five, who had levelled allegations of acquiring disproportionate assets against Uttar Pradesh Mining Minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, have dissociated themselves from their complaints, putting a roadblock in a probe that is being conducted by state Lokayukta.

Also, Most of the people called for evidence by Lokayukta N K Mehrotra in his six-month long probe have declined to confirm the allegations against the minister.

Mehrotra, however, said he is conducting the inquiry into all the allegations levelled against the minister, including those by two other complainants, social activist Nutan Thakur and Yashwant Singh, a resident of Sonbhadra, who are still pursuing their complaints.

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As per Mehrotra, the first complaint was made by Om Shankar Dwivedi, a resident of Pratapgarh, in December. He submitted the complaint to Lokayukta alleging that Prajapati, after becoming a minister, acquired property worth Rs 300 crore in the name of his family members, friends and associates in Lucknow’s Mohanlalganj area.

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A few weeks later, however, Dwivedi submitted a letter to Mehrotra, in response to a query for additional information from Lokayukta, saying that he had no information to give and wanted to withdraw his complaint.

Another complaint was by Abhay Raj Yadav of Sultanpur, who, too, had levelled allegations similar to Dwivedi’s complaint. Mehrotra said he had asked Yadav to clarify about some details in his complaint but he did not respond, leading to the closure of his complaint.

Yet another complainant, Mahendra Kumar, a resident of Amethi, had submitted a list containing names of more than 50 people who, he alleged, had acquired benami assets for Prajapati.

Mehrotra said Kumar appeared before him last week and submitted an affidavit saying he had no evidence against the minister and had made his complaint on the basis of information provided by other persons.

During the course of probe, Mehrotra had summoned several people, accused of having acquired benami properties on behalf of Prajapati, to record their statement. Eight of them claimed that they had bought the properties with their own money.

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According to sources, Mehrotra is close to concluding his six month long inquiry which also includes the charges of alleged illegal mining in the state. In her complaint, social activist Nutan Thakur had alleged that the minister was providing shelter to the illegal mining in the state and his disproportionate assets were linked to the corruption.

Mehrotra is also examining the documents collected from the mining department and the statements given by the officials.

Prajapati had denied all the allegations calling them an attempt to malign his image. He had also submitted his reply to Lokayukta dismissing the allegations as false.

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