‘Kingmaker’ Mayawati faces probe in sugar mill case

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New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) 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, 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 revealed to IANS that the Central investigative agency has gathered sufficient 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, CBI says top officials connived with private parties in committing “cheating and forgery.”

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In a swift move which surprised many political pundits in Lucknow, Secretary, Uttar Pradesh government, Bhagwan Swarup wrote a letter on April 4 asking CBI to immediately take over the investigation 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 investigation into the scam is divided into two parts. The first one deals with the private entrepreneurs who forged documents 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 close aide Satish Chandra Mishra, who was a key decision-maker in the BSP government.

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However, BSP had earlier blamed its former minister, Nasimuddin Siddiqui, for taking a decision on selling sugar mills. Nasimuddin, once a very powerful functionary in the BSP regime, was sacked by Mayawati in 2017 for anti-party activities.

— IANS

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