‘Kingmaker’ Maya faces probe in sugar mill case

NEW DELHI:Even as UPA's special envoy N Chandrababu Naidu met Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav to cement an anti-BJP front, the CBI is zeroing in on the role of top BSP politicians involved in the multi-crore sugar mill scam.

New Delhi, May 18 

Even as UPA's special envoy N Chandrababu Naidu met Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav to cement an anti-BJP front, the CBI is zeroing in on the role of top BSP politicians involved in the multi-crore sugar mill scam. Just a fortnight ago, the CBI's Lucknow branch of Anti-Corruption Unit launched a probe into the controversial sale of state-owned sugar mills which were sold to private entrepreneurs for peanuts during Mayawati's tenure as UP Chief Minister.

Sources said the agency has gathered documentary evidence to question the key functionaries of the Mayawati government (2007-2012) for selling operational sugar mill plants at the cost of scrap. In its preliminary report, the CBI says top officials connived with private parties in committing “cheating and forgery”. 

In a swift move, Bhagwan Swarup, Secretary, Uttar Pradesh government, wrote a letter on April 4 asking the CBI to immediately take over the probe as the state government had sanctioned clearance for a probe into the fraudulent sale of 21 state sugar mills. The CBI examined the documents on April 9 and after a quick inquiry registered a case on April 25. 

In the poll season, the CBI probe now seems to be a sword hanging over the heads of several BSP leaders, including party president Mayawati, who is tipped to be one of the kingmakers in case the results of the Lok Sabha elections show a fractured mandate.

Sources said the CBI probe is divided into two parts. The first one deals with the  private entrepreneurs who forged papers to purchase the sugar mills at a very low price while the second part focused on “irregularities committed with a criminal intent in the entire sale proceedings of 21 sugar mills by the UP State Sugar Corporation Ltd”. The second part could be crucial for Mayawati and her aide Satish Chandra Mishra.

However, the BSP had earlier blamed its former minister, Nasimuddin Siddiqui, for taking a decision on selling sugar mills. Nasimuddin was sacked in 2017 for anti-party activities. — IANS

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