The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case of money laundering in connection with a sand mining matter, in which the CBI will examine the alleged roles of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and his former Cabinet colleague Gayatri Prajapati.
The ED registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against politicians and bureaucrats from UP for allegedly laundering proceeds of crime earned through illegal allotment of sand mining licences in Hamirpur between 2012 and 2016.
The ED case is based on a CBI FIR where the latter said it would also examine the role of ministers who held the charge of the mining ministry during the period of the alleged scam. Yadav held charge of the mining ministry until Prajapati became mining minister in 2013.
In an FIR filed on January 2, the CBI had said, “The role of then mining ministers concerned during relevant period may be looked into during the course of investigation of the case.” Both Yadav and Prajapati had the charge of mining ministry between 2012 and 2016 when the alleged irregularities in mining of minor minerals is supposed to have happened.
The CBI had on Saturday searched 14 locations across Delhi and UP in connection with the case. The locations included residences of SP MLC Ramesh Kumar Mishra and BSP leader Sanjay Dixit apart from then Hamirpur District Magistrate B Chandrakala. The premises were spread across Delhi, Hamirpur, Jalaon, Noida, Kanpur and Lucknow and are associated with the 11 accused mentioned in the CBI FIR.
The searches were carried out on the day the SP and BSP finalised seat-sharing for 2019 elections and sealed their Mahagathbandhan.
ED sources said the agency will now identify properties and assets created by the accused with the money earned through illegal licences and will proceed to attach these properties. The sources also said that the agency would examine the role of Yadav and Prajapati in the matter and call for questioning whoever it deems fit for investigation.
“Akhilesh Yadav was holding the charge of mining ministry from 2012 till June 2013. After that the ministry came under then Amethi MLA Prajapati. Since all irregularities have taken place between 2012 and 2016, the role of both Yadav and Prajapati would be examined. No decision has yet been taken on their questioning though,” a CBI officer said.
CBI sources said that B Chandrakala, who is known as ‘Lady Simha’ in Hamirpur and is perceived as an anti-corruption crusader, gave out mining leases in violation of rules laid down by the UP government and allowed mining even in periods prohibited by orders of the NGT.
SP MLC Mishra along with his brother Dinesh Kumar are among mining lease holders who allegedly benefited from these irregularities. BSP’s Dixit and his father Satyadev too held some leases during this period. All have been named in the FIR, sources said.