A political fight has erupted here with the revelation of unauthorised investment of thousands of crores in scam-hit Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) by state power utilities between March 2017 and December 2018.
The period spans the successive governments of Akhilesh Yadav and Yogi Adityanath. On Saturday night, the Adityanath government recommended an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), even as two of the prime accused, suspended UP Power Corporation (UPPCL) employees viz. Praveen Kumar Gupta and Sudhanshu Dwivedi, were arrested by the police here.
Gupta had earlier served as secretary of the UP State Power Employees’ Trust and the Provident Fund Trust of UPPCL, Dwivedi was UPPCL’s director (finance). The investments were made by these Trust entities in DHFL and are among those being probed by the Centre’s Enforcement Directorate (ED), in connection with alleged money laundering rackets of fugitive gangster Iqbal Memon alias Iqbal Mirchi.
Until CBI formally takes over the probe, the UP police’s economic offences wing (EOW) will probe the case. The government has announced it would cooperate with the ED’s investigation as well.
Soon after the news became public, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress party’s general secretary in charge of UP, and former state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav took to social media and attacked the Adityanath government, questioning its integrity and demanding a high-level probe.
Total investment by the two UPPCL entities totals nearly Rs 4,100 crore, in different tranches. Part of the money, close to Rs 1,800 crore, was repaid by DHFL. Leaving around Rs 2,300 crore to be recouped from the beleaguered firm. Addressing jounralsists on Sunday, state cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma hit out at opposition party leaders for pointing fingers at the Adityanath government on the DHFL investment.
He said the state government was adhering to a “zero tolerance” policy against corruption and no one would be spared if found guilty. “The government took no time or waited for a court order to arrest the two accused and recommended for a CBI probe, the letter for which is being dispatched today.”
He claimed the seeds of the scam were sown during the Yadav regime, dating back to April 2014. “On April 21, 2014, the Board of Trustees decided to explore high return options offered by private sector companies. Till October 2016, the funds of the two Trusts were only being deposited with public sector banks,” he added.