Rejecting the state Lok Ayukta’s recommendation for a CBI probe against her most trusted minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati Monday contended that the nature of the charges against the minister did not merit such a probe.
Lok Ayukta Justice (retd.) NK Mehrotra said he would now approach the governor.
Defending multi-portfolio minister Siddiqui, who faces grave charges of corruption and owning assets disproportionate to his income, Mayawati said the Lok Ayukta’s demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe did not conform to the provisions of the state Lok Ayukta Act.
"Since the charges leveled against Siddiqui did not pertain to his actions as a minister, it was not within the purview of the Lok Ayukta to initiate any probe against him," said an official spokesman, citing the chief minister's stand.
"The provisions of the UP Lok Ayukta Act entitle the Lok Ayukta to scrutinise the actions of a minister only where such actions were taken in his capacity as minister. However, the charges levelled against Naseemuddin Siddiqui in the complaint sent to the Lok Ayukta did not pertain to his actions in his capacity as a minister," the official added.
Siddiqui was accused of amassing wealth far beyond his known and legitimate sources of income, undervaluing properties acquired by him and his immediate family members, and money laundering via benami (proxy) trusts and organisations floated by him.
Siddiqui, who began as minister for public works, excise and irrigation, was gradually entrusted with portfolio after portfolio including industries, housing, urban development, health among others.
Asked to comment on the chief minister’s stand, Mehrotra said: “I will now write to the governor for further action in the matter."