An ongoing probe into corruption allegations against Uttar Pradesh mining minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati has unearthed “incriminating evidence” against him, the state Lokayukta said on Saturday.
Prajapati, an influential minister in the Samajwadi Party government of Akhilesh Yadav, is accused of allegedly amassing property worth Rs 900 crore by misusing his office.
Lokayukta justice (retd) NK Mehrotra launched the probe in December last year after one Om Shankar Dwivedi filed a 1,727-page complaint giving details of ill-gotten property belonging to the minister and his kin across the state.
The Lokayukta said that the state estate department has confirmed that rooms in the VVIP guest house in Lucknow were provided to “members of the syndicate” who were working as intermediary between contractors and the mining minister.
“It’s difficult (even) for MLAs and bureaucrats to book rooms in the guest house due to stringent rules but using his influence Prajapati booked the rooms for four months to run his nefarious activities,” justice Mehrotra said.
Besides, a forest department report submitted to the Lokayukta said that the mining department issued as many as 18 licenses in forest area without the mandatory environmental clearance.
The Lokayukta said that since the order came from the minister, the contractors were not stopped from carrying out illegal mining.
He added that out of a 2200-acre mining area in Jalaun district, the mining department allotted 1,600 acre to one RC Mishra, known to be a close associate of the mining minister.
The Lokayukta said that “the fake companies floated by the minister and members of the syndicate are being closed (down) after I started the inquiry. Even money is being withdrawn from bank accounts to escape charges.”
Justice Malhotra has already asked the minister’s wife and two sons to appear before him on January 8.
Prajapati refuted the allegations of corruption and said they were part of a conspiracy hatched by his rivals.
“If the corruption charges are proved, I will quit politics,” said Prajapati, the MLA from Amethi, adding that “I will come out clean”.