The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered two fresh cases against former Uttar Pradesh mining minister Gayatri Prajapati and four IAS officers in the alleged illegal sand mining case and has carried out searches at 12 locations in the state, recovering cash to the tune of Rs 57 lakh. Besides Prajapati, the CBI has named then Principal Secretary Jiwesh Nandan, Special Secretary Santosh Kumar, then-District Magistrates Abhay Kumar Singh and Vivek and unknown others. Trouble seems to be in store for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as he was holding the mining portfolio before Prajapati.
Agency officials carried out searches at 12 locations in Bulandshahr, Lucknow, Fatehpur, Azamgarh, Allahabad, Noida, Gorakhpur and Deoria. An official said that cases of illegal mining have been registered on orders of the Allahabad High Court.
The CBI officials carried out searches against Bulandshahr District Magistrate Abhay Kumar Singh and former Deoria District Magistrate Vivek among others. Abhay Kumar Singh was then posted as the DM of Fatehpur, while Vivek is presently posted as the Director of Training and Employment in Lucknow.
The CBI official said that the agency has seized Rs 47 lakh in cash from Abhay Kumar Singh’s residence while cash amounting to Rs 10 lakh was found from the premises of Devi Sharan Upadhyay, a former Additional District Magistrate of Deoria (now posted as CDO, Azamgarh).
The CBI also seized property documents from the premises of Vivek in Lucknow. The development can spell trouble for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav since he has been linked to illegal mining.
Abhay Kumar Singh has been under the CBI scanner for alleged irregularities in mining when he was the District Magistrate of Fatehpur during the Akhilesh government. Akhilesh Yadav was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2012 to 2017 and also the Mining Minister from 2012 to 2013.
The illegal mining allegedly took place between 2012 and 2016. Sources in the CBI said that a total of 22 tenders passed by the UP government between 2012 and 2016 were being scrutinised. Of these, 14 were passed when Akhilesh held the mining portfolio and the rest when Prajapati was the mining minister.
Prajapati is presently in jail on charges of gangrape of a woman and her minor daughter. In June, the CBI searched his residence in Amethi. The CBI had then conducted searches at 22 locations across the country, including at three premises of Prajapati in Amethi.
Earlier this year in January, the CBI raided several locations in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in connection with the case. The homes of senior officers, including IAS officer B. Chandrakala in Hamirpur, who served as the District Magistrate of Bijnor, Bulandshahr and Meerut, were searched by the CBI.
SP MLC Ramesh Misra and his brother, mining clerk Ram Ashray Prajapati, Ambika Tiwari from Hamirpur, mining clerk Ram Avatar Singh and his relative and Sanjay Dikshit were among the accused in the case. According to the CBI, these officials allegedly allowed illegal mining from 2012-16.
“The accused and certain other persons illegally granted and renewed fresh leases. These persons were allowed to extort money from leaseholders and also extract money from drivers carrying minerals,” a CBI official said.
An FIR was registered after the Allahabad High Court directed the CBI to conduct inquiries over allegations of illegal sand mining in the five districts of Shamli, Hamirpur, Fatehpur, Siddhartha Nagar and Deoria.
Trouble seems to be in store for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Prajapati is currently in a UP jail in a gangrape case, involving a woman and her minor daughter.
The CBI filed the FIR On June 29 on the orders of the Allahabad High Court and booked them under the Prevention of Corruption Act, criminal conspiracy, theft and cheating.
The investigating agency in its FIR alleged that Shiv Singh was granted a sand mining lease for three years on November 8, 2006. He reapplied for the renewal of the lease in 2009 without obtaining the ‘no due certificate’ for the amount of Rs 6.2 lakh for illegal mining.
The FIR said the then ADM (Mining) and other mining official had rejected Shiv Singh’s renewal licence as it was found “non maintainable” on October 17, 2010.
“It is alleged that Shiv Singh in criminal conspiracy with the then mining officials of Fatehpur and unknown others got the opinion of the Mining officials changed in his favour — that if he cleared all his dues of the Mining Department, then his renewal application might be sent for the prior approval to the Uttar Pradesh government,” the FIR said.
The FIR alleged that Shiv Singh then cleared all his dues of Rs 6.2 lakh with the Mining Department on May 1, 2012 and got the ‘no dues certificate’ on May 16, 2012 and also received the environmental clearance certificate on December 10, 2012.
He had said that the documents were submitted in the DM office on January 28, 2013. However, then DM of Fatehpur Abhay Kumar Singh, who is currently posted as DM, Bulandshahr, had forwarded Shiv Singh’s renewal application to the state government, clearly mentioning that he had not taken any decision prior to September 5, 2012, as permitted by the state government through its order dated February 26, 2013.
Abhay Kumar Singh’s residential premises were raided by the CBI on Wednesday,
The Uttar Pradesh government had mandated e-tendering for renewal and award of fresh lease for sand mining in the state on May 31, 2012, which was upheld by the Allahabad High Court on January 29, 2013.
The FIR alleged that Shiv Singh hatched a criminal conspiracy along with senior officers of Mining and Geology Department, as a result of which, Prajapati approved the illegal recommendations made by Nandan, Santosh Kumar, Jha and others.
The minister and officials had abused their official positions in favour of Shiv SIngh for three years from January 29, 2014 to January 28, 2017, said the FIR.
The FIR also alleged that Nanadan Kumar and then district magistrate of Fatehpur Abhay Singh allegedly conspired with the minister to get the lease renewed for Sukhraj in 2014.
The CBI said that Sukhraj was granted two leases in Fatehpur by Abhay Singh. (IANS)