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UP mining scam: Mayawati stands behind Akhilesh Yadav as CBI probe looms large

Jan 7 (AZINS) The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Monday expressed solidarity with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav amid reports that CBI may launch an investigation against the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister as part of its probe into the sand mining scam of 2012-2013.

In a statement, the BSP said party chief Mayawati yesterday called up Akhilesh Yadav and told him that these raids by BJP are nothing new and are their old political tactic which people now understand.

"We have to fight against this strongly and make their conspiracies unsuccessful," Mayawati reportedly told Akhilesh.

At a joint press conference with SP leaders, BSP MP Satish Chandra Misra said, "In land-mafia case FIR is against the officer, that officer violated law made by the government in allotment process, how does that make then CM Akhilesh Yadav Ji responsible for it?"

"Since their (BJP) partners are leaving them, their new alliance is with CBI," the Rajya Sabha MP, who was joined by SP's Ram Gopal Yadav, said.

"If a UP minister holds a press conference in Delhi and asks for a CBI probe against Akhilesh, what conclusion can you draw from it? It will backfire on them. BJP won't even get to put their feet in UP, PM will have to leave Varanasi and fight elections from elsewhere," Yadav said, referring to a media briefing by Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh.

On Saturday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids at 14 places in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh as part of its probe in the mining case. Sleuths raided the residence and offices of 2008 batch IAS officer B. Chandrakala, Samajwadi Party MLC Ramesh Mishra, BSP leader Satyadev Dikshit, in connection with the mining scam.

The agency is probing the role of mining ministers between 2012 and 2016 when the illegal mining took place. From 2012 to June 2013, Yadav had mining portfolio before MLA Gayatri Prasad Prajapati was elevated as mining minister.

Reports said the agency may examine Akhilesh and Prajapati. Prajapati was arrested in 2017 following a complaint of rape by a woman in Chitrakoot. On Sunday, Yadav said he is ready to face the probe agency, but people are also ready to answer the BJP.

Opposition parties, including the SP and the BSP who have agreed to contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls together, have alleged that the raids and probe close to general elections is BJP government's tactic to pressurise leaders from other parties.

The raids came a day after Akhilesh met BSP supremo Mayawati to discuss seat sharing.  Once bitter rivals, now allies against the BJP, the two have reportedly agreed to keep the Congress out of their alliance in the state which has 80 Lok Sabha seats up for grabs.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday slammed the Modi government for "shamelessly unleashing" the CBI on Akhilesh and said it is time to throw out "this dictatorial and undemocratic regime".

"In its last weeks in office, Modi govt shamelessly unleashing CBI on @yadavakhilesh is a reminder to all that we must not forget what Modi's political opponents have faced during last five years. Time to throw out this dictatorial & undemocratic regime (sic)," he tweeted.