To be seen and believed clean before the Assembly elections, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sacked two ministers who were facing corruption charges. The decision came two days after the High Court had refused to shelve the CBI probe against illegal mining in Uttar Pradesh.
The two ministers who got the boot are Mining and Geology minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati and state Irrigation, Animal Husbandry and Panchayati Raj minister Raj Kishore Singh.
While Gayatri was removed following Allahabad High court order to go for a CBI probe into the illegal mining in the state, Raj Kishore was sacked for his involvement in a check dam scam in Pratapgarh, land grabbing in Basti and his involvement in illegal mining in Sonebhadra region.
Both the ministers were very close to Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. Yadav Sr, who is in Delhi, feigned ignorance about the sacking of ministers. He claimed that he came to know about the expulsion of ministers from the media.
A highly-placed source in the government said that Chief Minister has kept both – Gayatri Prajapati and Raj Kishore –in the dark about their sacking. They were informed around 9 am on Monday of the expulsion. Both the leaders tried to contact Mulayam Singh and later left for New Delhi.
Gayatri Prajapati’s mercurial rise from a BPL card holder to a billionaire had caught everyone’s imagination. Complaints were lodged but he managed to come clean pulling ‘right’ strings at right time.
Prajapati is MLA from the Amethi assembly segment – the region represented in Lok Sabha by Rahul Gandhi.
Prajapati, in his election affidavit, had listed his property amounting to Rs 9,436 in 2002 while filling affidavit for MLA elections. In 2012 elections, he listed his property amounting up to Rs 3, 71,720 . It is said that his income has risen and reached up to several thousand crores in last four years. The sacked minister owns many bungalows, cars, farm houses and businesses in the name of his family members.
The minister and his family members were also reported to have made BPL cards for themselves to take the advantage to get Kanya Vidya Dhan.
Prajapati began as Minister of State for Irrigation in February 2013 and was moved to the lucrative berth of mining, directly under Yadav who handled that portfolio. In July 2013, Yadav elevated Prajapati to MoS (Independent Charge) and in January 2014, he was made a Cabinet Minister.
Raj Kishore, too, was involved in several cases of scams and land grabbing leading to major embarrassment for the Samajwadi Party government. Raj Kishore’s wife is the district panchayat chairperson while his brother contested the last Lok Sabha elections on SP ticket from Basti seat.
Singh is the SP MLA from Harriya seat in Basti district of eastern UP.
The Allahabad High Court on July 28 directed the CBI to investigate the matter across the state, including the role of government officials in facilitating the same, and submit a report within six weeks.
The HC on September 9 rejected an application by the state government for withdrawal of its order.