Drawing flak from opposition parties, the CBI laid out details about the illegal mining case in Uttar Pradesh on Monday and claimed that then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's office had cleared 13 projects on a single day, officials said.
The agency said Yadav, who also held the mining portfolio for sometime, had cleared 14 leases, of which 13 were cleared on February 17, 2013, in violation of e-tendering process.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claimed that on February 17 the leases were granted by the district magistrate of Hamirpur, 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 January 29, 2013.
The CBI gave details about the role of Samajwadi Party chief Yadav after he and other opposition party leaders accused the BJP government at the Centre of misusing the probe agency for its political gains.
Yadav had held a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday alleging that the BJP was using the CBI as a tool for arm-twisting the opposition party leaders, some of whom are trying to forge an alliance against the ruling party.
"Now we have to tell the CBI as to how many seats we have distributed in the gathbandhan (alliance). I am happy that at least the BJP has shown its colours. Earlier, the Congress gave us the chance to meet the CBI, and this time it is the BJP, which has given us this opportunity," Yadav had said.
"The Samajwadi Party is making efforts to win maximum number of LokSabha seats. Those who want to stop us, have the CBI with them. Once the Congress did CBI probe, and I was questioned. If the BJP is doing all this, the CBI will question me, I will answer (them). But, the people are ready to give an answer to the BJP," he had said.
The CBI had carried out searches at 14 locations on Saturday in connection with its FIR against 11 people, including IAS officer B Chandrakala, Samajwadi Party MLC Ramesh Kumar Mishra and Sanjay Dixit (who unsuccessfully contested the 2017 assembly election on a BSP ticket), to probe alleged illegal mining of minor minerals in Hamirpur district during 2012-16.
Yadav, who was the chief minister of the state between 2012 and 2017, held the mining portfolio during 2012-13 apparently bringing his role under scanner, according to the FIR.
He was succeeded by Gayatri Prajapati, who took charge as mining minister in 2013 and was arrested in 2017 following a complaint of rape by a woman residing in Chitrakoot.
This is the third FIR pertaining to illegal mining cases which were registered by the agency on January 2, 2019, nearly two-and-a-half years after it was directed by the Allahabad High Court to probe the matter.