Unfazed by a defamation notice served on him by Uttar Pradesh Power Minister Shrikant Sharma, state Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu here on Friday accused the minister of misleading people in connection with the Rs 2,600-crore EPF scam.
"Most of the money of the employees' provident fund was invested in the defaulter DHFL under the BJP government when Sharma was the power minister. Now, he is trying to take the issue in another direction in order to shun his responsibility and mislead people," Lallu told media persons here.
The Congress leader, who was asked to apologise in the notice by the UP minister within 24 hours for making "indecent allegations" regarding the scam against him, said Sharma was not disclosing facts about the investment.
Our demand was that cases be lodged against those responsible for it and the minister be sacked, Lallu said.
"The chief minister talks about zero tolerance, but corruption continues right under his nose," Lallu said, adding that those in power would have to give a satisfactory reply.
He also said none of the queries raised by him in connection with the process adopted for the investment had been answered by the minister so far.
To a question on the notice served on him by Sharma, Lallu said he had not received it so far and had come to know of it only through newspapers.
"A reply to it will be given as per the legal process once I receive it," Lallu said.
On Thursday, the minister had sent a defamation notice to the Congress leader, accusing him of making "wrong, derogatory and indecent allegations" against him in connection with the case.
In case, Lallu did not offer an apology, a case would be registered against him under the Indian Penal Code, the minister had warned.
Earlier, Lallu had sought a probe into Sharma's alleged Dubai visit in September-October 2017, saying it smacked of national security issues.
"It should be probed as to why Shrikant Sharma visited Dubai in September-October 2017. Whom did he meet there," Lallu had said in a tweet.
Lallu has also said that the matter of the investment of power employees' provident fund in Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited not only amounts to corruption but also related to national security.
The energy minister had, however, refuted the allegation about his foreign trip.
Sharma is in the eye of storm over the parking of power employees' provident fund in the scam-hit housing finance firm DHFL, whose promoters were recently grilled by the Enforcement Directorate for their alleged links with a front company of Iqbal Mirchi, a former aide of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim.