Millionaire Gayatri Prajapati among two sacked by UP CM Akhilesh Yadav over embezzlement of funds
Months ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2017, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday sacked state Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati from his Cabinet, according to PTI report.
Lucknow: Months ahead of the crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday sacked state Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati and Panchayti Raj Minister Rajkishore Singh, over corruption charges.
Prajapati has been facing several graft charges. He got mired in controversy in March this year after reports surfaced that his daughter was one of the alleged beneficiaries of the ‘Kanya Dhan Yojana’ under the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.
The UP government’s scheme is solely for girls belonging to poor families. However, Prajapati was allegedly taking the benefit of the scheme for his daughter despite being a millionaire.
In the 2012 Assembly election affidavit submitted by him, Prajapati had declared that his property was worth over Rs 1.83 crore.
Prajapati has also come under the scanner of Lokayukta over graft charges against him.
In 2013, he was appointed by CM Akhilesh as Mining Minister. He is now accused of amassing more wealth than his known sources of income, besides several other charges.
The action comes close on the heels of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav sounding a warning to party leaders, saying that action needed to be taken against those involved in land grabbing and other corrupt activities if the party wanted to return to power in the 2017 Assembly elections.
The opposition, however, alleged that the sacking of the ministers was just an eyewash.
"Illegal mining is rampant in the state and it is an open secret that he was promoting it. Now when the HC has taken serious view of the matter and ordered CBI probe, the CM's decision is mere an eyewash. It will not help as people know the reality," Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi said.
BJP state general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said it was good that CM has taken the decision to sack the minister. "Our party has been raising the matter of illegal mining in the state. The decision should have been taken earlier," Pathak said.
Prajapati began as Minister of State for Irrigation in February 2013 and was moved to the lucrative berth of mining, directly under Yadav who handled that portfolio.
In July 2013, Yadav elevated Prajapati to MoS (Independent Charge) and in January 2014, he was made a Cabinet Minister.
The court had, while ordering a CBI probe, observed that the claim made in affidavits filed by District Magistrates across the state that no illegal mining was taking place in their areas of jurisdiction was 'false' and dismissed as an 'eyewash' the submission of principal secretary (mining) that a committee had been set up to look into allegations of illegal mining.
Last week, the Allahabad High Court rejected an application by the Uttar Pradesh government for withdrawal of a two-month-old order whereby the CBI had been directed to investigate allegations of illegal mining across the state.