Former managing director of UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) A P Mishra was arrested Tuesday in connection with the investment of over Rs 2,600 crore of the state power employees’ provident fund in the scam-hit DHFL. This was the third arrest in the case, which has taken a political colour with the Opposition demanding the resignation of Power Minister Shrikant Sharma, while the ruling BJP blaming the previous SP government for the “dubious” investment.
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the UP Police, which is investigating the case till the CBI takes over the probe, had arrested two persons — the then secretary Praveen Kumar Gupta of the UP State Power Employees Trust and UPPCL’s Provident Fund Trust, and UPPCL’s erstwhile Director (Finance) Sudhanshu Dwivedi — on Saturday.
The latest arrest comes hours after the BJP government in the state removed Power Secretary and Managing Director of UPPCL, Aparna U, and replaced her with M Devraj, who has returned from central deputation.
Meanwhile, an official government spokesman said that Mishra was close to the former chief minister and Samajwadi Party president, Akhilesh Yadav, and is 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.
Speaking at a 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, 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…” Akhilesh said, referring to the CM ordering the CBI probe into the case late on Saturday night.
“A P Mishra was arrested after his name was included in the FIR that was registered at Hazratganj Police Station on Saturday. He will be presented in court on Wednesday. In case EOW gets the custody of the other two arrested accused — Gupta and Dwivedi — on time, all the three will be brought face to face for questioning on Wednesday,” said Director General (EOW) Rajendra Pal Singh, adding that an application seeking the custody of the other two has been filed in the court.
All the three, including Mishra, have been booked under IPC Sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine).
Mishra was arrested after a team of the EOW searched the office of UP Power Employee’s Trust for around 5-6 hours.
“Prima facie evidence suggests Mishra’s involvement in the whole case. In the coming days, we will question more people, mainly other members of the Trust and more names could be added in the FIR,” Director General (EOW) said.
“So far we know that on April 21, 2014, board of UP Power Employee’s Trust decided that non-bank high-interest options can be considered for investment and Director (Finance) was appointed to make a decision on it. On March 15, 2017, a quotation was taken from DHFL, and the next day quotation from other banks and organisations were admitted. On same day (March 16), Mishra submitted his resignation. On March 17, a sum of Rs 18 crore was given to DHFL as part of the first installment,” Singh added.
“Five days later (March 22), at a time when the investment was made, a meeting was held to discuss investment options. Board members have their signature on it. The next day, on March 23, Mishra’s resignation was accepted. Now the question is why the meeting was held after the investment was already made and how come Mishra was involved in these decisions when he had already submitted his resignation,” the DG added.