New Delhi: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials on Monday claimed they have adequate evidence to probe former mining ministers of Uttar Pradesh, particularly Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who also had the mining portfolio under him during his tenure as chief minister. 

According to sources, the CBI investigation has found that 14 leases which were cancelled by the high court were all made when Akhilesh was in charge of the mining ministry. The other minister who had cleared the leases was Gayatri Prajapati. All leases required the approval of the chief minister's office according to the law and approvals were given by Akhilesh's office as well.

All leases were made in June 2013 and were approved by Akhilesh and Prajapati during their tenures as the mining minister, CBI sources said. The probe agency also claimed that the focus of the inquiry was to look into the illegality of the approvals given.

Also read: Akhilesh Yadav faces heat of CBI probe into mining scam of Uttar Pradesh under Samajwadi Party rule

According to the souces, exactly 18 days after the high court order on leasing through e-tenders, 13 leases without e-tendering were granted on February 17, 2013 in Hamirpur. Another lease was alotted on June 14, 2013. Of the 22 lease violations, 14 happened when Akhilesh was in charge of the mining ministry, and the rest when Prajapati was heading the ministry. The CBI also claimed that all leases had the approval of the chief minister. Leases of more than Rs 5 lakh had to get due approval from the chief minister's office.

Sources confirmed that IAS officer B Chandrakala, whose residence was raided in connection with the illegal sand mining case, will be asked to join the investigation and may be arrested. Akhilesh may also be called for questioning.

Also read: B Chandrakala’s façade of ‘anti-corruption crusader’ collapses as CBI raids residence for illegal mining

"The inquiry revealed that (1) B Chandrakala, IAS, (UP: 2008), the then district magistrate, Hamirpur, in criminal conspiracy with (2) Moinuddin, the then geologist/mining officer, Hamirpur, (3)  Ram Ashrey Prajapati, the then mining clerk, Hamirpur; all state government employees and pursuance thereof; allowed the private persons (lease-holders), namely, (4) Ramesh Kumar Mishra; (5) Dinesh Kumar Mishra; (6)  Ambika Tiwari (7) Sanjay Dixit (8) Satyadev Dixit (9) Ramavtar Singh  (10) Karen Singh (11) Adil Khan and (12) unknown public servants and other unknown persons; allowed illegal mining of minor minerals in district Hamirpur, UP, during the years 2012 to 2016, thereby causing wrongful loss to the government exchequer and undue gain to themselves," the FIR reads.  

What the matter is all about

According to the allegations against Chandrakala, in 2012, the IAS officer awarded 50 mining leases without e-tendering. In 2015, a petition was filed in the Allahabad high court on illegal mining. On October 16, 2015, the high court cancelled all the mining leases and declared them illegal in Hamirpur. Chandrakala was allegedly responsible for violating rules in connivance with others accused in this case. Though the CBI has not named the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh in the FIR, it claimed that all approvals were given by his office.