The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday registered a money laundering case against former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav in connection with alleged illegal mining.
The development spells further trouble for the Samajwadi Party ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and the party alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)—which had originally initiated action this year —was working at the behest of the centre to derail any alliance between opposition parties.
CBI registered a case on 2 January against 11 people, including public servants and others, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, to probe the role of the state’s mining ministers, including Akhilesh Yadav, during 2012-16.
The ED registered the case under relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) charging those who had earlier been booked by CBI. The ED, persons familiar with the development said, is now examining the money trail in the case.
CBI, in its first information report (FIR) had named IAS officer B. Chandrakala, a former Hamirpur district magistrate, miner Adil Khan, geologist and mining officer Moinuddin, SP leader Ramesh Kumar Mishra, his brother Dinesh Kumar Mishra, Ram Ashray Prajapati—a former clerk in the mining department in Hamirpur—Sanjay Dikshit who contested the 2017 assembly polls for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), his father Satyadeo Dikshit and Ram Avtar Singh—a former clerk in the mining department.
CBI, however, last week, tightened the noose around Yadav, claiming that his office had cleared 13 projects on a single day. Yadav, who also held the mining portfolio cleared 14 leases, including 13 on 17 February 2013, according to the probe agency.
CBI claimed that the leases were granted by B. Chandrakala after getting approval from the chief minister’s office in violation of its 2012 e-tender policy, which was ratified by the Allahabad high court on 29 January 2013.