The CBI on Wednesday registered two more FIRs in connection with the mining scam in Uttar Pradesh and named former minister in the previous Samajwadi Party government Gayatri Prasad Prajapati and four IAS officers. The FIRs were registered as the central probe agency conducted search operations at 12 locations in the state, officials said.
The four IAS officers named in the FIR are Jiwesh Nandan, the then principal secretary in Geology and Mining Department; Santosh Kumar, the then special secretary; and the then district magistrates of Fatehpur and Deoria, Abhay and Vivek, respectively.
Later in the night, the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh removed the officers posted in the state from their current posts — 2007-batch IAS officer Abhay from the post of DM of Bulandshahr; 2009-batch IAS officer Vivek from the post of Mission Director (Kaushal Vikas Mission); and Dev Sharan Upadhyaya, the Chief Development Officer of Azamgarh.
The case pertains to the alleged irregularities in grant of mining leases in violation of mandatory e-tendering policy introduced by the state government on May 31, 2012, which was upheld by the Allahabad High Court on January 29, 2013.
In the case involving Prajapati, the agency has alleged that beneficiaries Shiv Singh and Sukhraj used the influence of the minister to get their leases renewed. The agency has alleged that Nandan, Kumar and the then district magistrate of Fatehpur, Abhay, allegedly conspired with the minister and other officials to get the lease renewed in the matter of Sukhraj in 2014. In Singh’s case, it was renewed two years before but after introduction of e-tendering policy, it alleged. “It was alleged that the then DM, Fatehpur (Abhay) fraudulently executed deeds in compliance of illegal orders of renewal of three sand mining leases in favour of the said private persons,” CBI spokesperson Nitin Wakankar said.
These sand mining leases were allegedly renewed in violation of orders of the UP government wherein it was clearly directed that all such leases be granted through e-tendering process, he said.
In the second case, the agency has alleged that Vivek allowed renewal of two leases of one Sharda Yadav (now deceased) and one Phool Badan Nishad. Yadav, whose petition for renewal of lease was dismissed by the Allahabad High Court on April 5, 2013, managed to get it renewed the next day in conspiracy with Vivek and other officials of the district, the CBI alleged.
The searches started Tuesday as part of agency’s comprehensive operation across the country in cases of corruption and continued today. The searches are spread at 12 locations including Bulandshahr, Lucknow, Fatehpur, Azamgarh, Allahabad, Noida, Gorakhpur, Deoria among others.
The agency teams searched the residence of Abhay in Bulandshahr and Vivek in Lucknow, they said. “Cash worth around Rs 49 lakh was recovered from the premises of then DM, Fatehpur (Abhay); Rs. 10 lakh cash was also recovered from the premises of the then ADM, Deoria (Devi Sharan Upadhyay). Some documents related to properties from the premises of the then DM, Deoria (Vivek) were also recovered,” Wakankar said.
Upadhyay is presently posted as the CDO in Azamgarh. His residence was also searched, the officials said.
The agency also seized some documents related to properties from the premises of Vivek which include two plots in Lucknow and a flat in Noida, they said.
Abhay issued a statement on the official twitter handle of DM, Bulandshahr, claiming that the searches had nothing to do with his tenure at Fatehpur. In his defence, he claimed that the CBI probe does not pertain to irregularities during his tenure as the Fatehpur DM, but according to the FIR, he is named as accused for irregularities during his tenure. “The visit of CBI team related to irregularities in mining leases awarded in district Fatehpur. It was not related to my posting in Bulandshahr,” he said. He also termed “misleading” the reports that the CBI searched his residence and recovered Rs 47 lakh.
The agency had taken over the mining scam probe on the directions of Allahabad High Court and registered seven preliminary enquiries. Five have been converted into FIRs.