His arrest came days after the state government recommended a CBI probe into the matter and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the director general of the economic offences wing to investigate the case till the CBI took over the matter.
"Mishra has been arrested. The economic offences wing of the state police is probing the matter and strict action will be taken against those involved in this case," Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh told PTI. An official spokesman said Mishra, who was close to former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and known as "arab pati Mishra", was "sacked" from his post on 24 March 2017, after the Yogi Adityanath government 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," he 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. Reacting to the allegations, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav held Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath responsible for the transfer of the employees' provident fund to scam-hit Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited and demanded his resignation.
At a hurriedly convened press conference here, the former CM trashed the allegations that the EPF funds were transferred to the DHFL during his regime and demanded a probe by a sitting Supreme Court or High Court judge."No EPF money of power employees was transferred to the DHFL during the previous SP regime," he asserted.
The state government had on Sunday claimed that the "dubious" decision was taken by the previous Samajwadi Party government headed by Akhilesh Yadav in April 2014 and the process of investment was further carried forward in 2016.
"Adityanath should step down. The CM is so weak that he cannot even ask state power minister Shrikant Sharma to resign," Yadav said.
The SP chief claimed, "The government is afraid and hiding the truth. There is infighting within the government...over 300 MLAs (of BJP) do not like the CM".
Terming the present regime "nathuram raj", Yadav claimed that in his tenure, maximum power was generated in the state whereas consumers were now paying high power bills.
"No new transmission line was started in this regime. The present government is ruining the power department," he alleged.
On the other hand, the chief minister's office attacked the Samajwadi Party chief on Twitter.
"The attack on corruption by zero tolerance sword of Yogi Adityanath has made those involved in corrupt practices run for a cover. Former UPPCL MD AP Mishra, the blue-eyed boy of Akhilesh Yadav, has been taken into custody," it tweeted, claiming that the present government was committed to ensure the security of the employees' money.
"Apki baar bhrashtar par prahar (this time, an attack on corruption)," it said.
BSP president Mayawati said the BJP government should protect interests of the employees.
"What will allegations and counter-allegations do when the BJP government cannot prevent the 'mahaghotala' (big scam) of investing the hard-earned money of power employees in private company," she tweeted.
"In this EPF scam, there will be no concrete conclusion due to the lax attitude of the state government. Besides the CBI probe, strict action is needed against the individuals in important posts, who were negligent, as people are waiting for it," she said.
An FIR was filed at the Hazratganj police station here on Sunday in this case against Praveen Kumar Gupta, the then secretary of the Uttar Pradesh State Power Employees' Trust and Provident Fund Trust of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited, and Sudhanshu Dwivedi, the then director, finance, UPPCL.
Both Gupta and Dwivedi were arrested on the same day.
In a late night order, the Adityanath government removed the power secretary and managing director of the corporation, an official had said.
Aparna U has been shifted to the Irrigation Department as secretary, while M Devraj, who has returned from central deputation, will be the new power secretary and UPPCL managing director, a government spokesperson had said.
The Samajwadi Party and the Congress have demanded that Power Minister Shrikant Sharma and the principal secretary of his department be dismissed.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra lashed out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh and asked which other departments' money had been invested in defaulter firms.
"According to a media report, after the BJP government came to power, on March 24, 2017, the money belonging to power corporation's employees was invested in defaulter company DHFL," Priyanka Gandhi alleged in a tweet.
"The question is why was the BJP government silent for two years. Tell the employees how will they get back their hard-earned money. Which other departments' money has been invested in defaulter companies. Make everything clear," the Congress general secretary said.
An answer will have to be given as it a matter of hard-earned money, she said.