Corruption-accused IAS officer Chandrakala says CBI raid political move
CBI teams on Saturday raided 14 places in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, including the residence of Chandrakala in Lucknow.india Updated: Jan 10, 2019 23:55 IST
Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer B Chandrakala, who has been accused of corruption in an illegal mining case in Uttar Pradesh dating back to 2012-16, finally broke her silence on Thursday, saying raids on her by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were politically motivated.
CBI teams on Saturday raided 14 places in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, including the residence of Chandrakala in Lucknow, a Samajwadi Party (SP) member of the legislative council (MLC), mining department officials and red sand mining lease holders, in connection with mining irregularities in Bundelkhand. The alleged scam dates back to the years when the SP under Akhilesh Yadav was in power.
“Political raids will continue but one should not let life go lacklustre,” Chandrakala, 38, a former district magistrate in Bundelkhand’s Hamipur, wrote in a statement posted on professional networking site LinkedIn. “I request you all not to let your problems make your life unpleasant.”
She also posted a poem ‘Rey rangrez, tu rang dey mujhey’ (translate) on the website.
The SP has said the timing of the raids was suspect and raised questions on the intentions of the government Leaders of the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have been discussing an alliance in the Lok Sabha elections due this year that is seen as a potential threat to the Bharatiya Janata Party, in power at the Centre and in UP.
Chandrakala has been a social media favourite, thanks to the widely circulated videos of her conducting surprise inspections and scolding civic officials, whether it be over the poor quality of building materials or poor sanitation.
About the mining scandal, she wrote on LinkedIn: “The matter is in the court and the investigation agency is doing its work. I will put my stand in public domain at an appropriate time.”
Her Facebook page has 8.6 million followers and on LinkedIn she has 30,000 connections.Her Facebook and Twitter accounts are inactive these days, explaining her choice of LinkedIn to air her statement.
The IAS officer has been on study leave since August 2018; she has enrolled herself in an MBA programme at IIMT University, Meerut.
A CBI officer, who did not wish to be named, said Chandrakala would soon be summoned for questioning. Besides Chandrakala, the investigating agency has lodged first information reports (FIRs) against MLC Ramesh Mishra, red sand mining lease holders as well as staff of the mining department in Hamirpur.
Investigators claimed that it was found during a probe that Chandrakala had granted mining leases bypassing the e-tendering procedure and allowed the illegal extraction of minor minerals. Money was extorted from lease holders as well as drivers of vehicles transporting minerals, they said.
The state geology and mining directorate has intensified its drive against illegal mining in the state. Roshan Jacob, director of geology and mining, said the department had launched an intensive drive to check illegal mining across the state.
“From April-November last year, the department conducted 16,820 raids and collected Rs 53.67 crore as penalty from people who indulged in illegal mining. At least 869 FIRs were lodged and petition was filed in the court in 855 cases,” Jacob said.
“In December last year, the department conducted 2007 raids and collected Rs 7.43 crore as penalty from people violating rules. The department lodged 123 FIRs and petition was filed in the court in 62 cases. The enforcement team of the mining department seized 129 trucks from other states which were used for illegal transportation of minerals,” Jacob said.
First Published: Jan 10, 2019 23:55 IST