Amid reports that the CBI is likely to quiz him in the illegal mining case, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday said he is ready to face the probe agency, but people are also ready to answer the BJP. He added that 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 told reporters in Lucknow.
“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 Saturday, the day arch rivals SP and BSP indicated their intent to join hands to counter the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
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 and Congress have dubbed the CBI probe as political vendetta after the alliance between Akhilesh’s party and the BSP. “Now that the reports of SP-BSP alliance have come, raids have started against Akhilesh. This was expected, whoever speaks against them(BJP) is raided, that’s how this government is running,” said Congress leader Kapila Sibal.
SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhry said BJP government was misusing the CBI to malign the image of their party president. “They are frustrated because they fear they will be defeated by the SP-BSP alliance in the Lok Sabha elections.”
The BJP, however, rubbished the Opposition parties allegations saying the probe agency does not work keeping elections in mind. “Akhilesh ji you cannot loot, & beat your chest over it. You’ve looted the people & law is taking its course. In 2016 Allahabad HC took cognizance of the matter & gave it to CBI. CBI does not work keeping in mind timing of elections or gathbandhans,” ANI quoted UP minister and BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh as saying.
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.
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.
(With PTI inputs)