In a late night move, the state government cracked the whip on three bureaucrats whose premises were raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the alleged irregularities in awarding mining leases in Uttar Pradesh. A case has been registered against them by the CBI. The babus were removed from their posts.

The alleged mining scam dates back to 2013-2017 when the Samajwadi Party government was in office.

Action against the bureaucrats followed strict directives issued by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who has taken a serious view of the development. The chief minister conducted a review meeting with nodal officers late on Wednesday night.

The three babus, who have been removed from their posts, have been waitlisted. They are: Bulandshahr district magistrate Abhay Singh, director, UP Kaushal Vikas Mission, Vivek and chief development officer of Azamgarh, Devi Sharan Upadhyaya. The director of UP Nutrition Mission, Ravindra Kumar -II has been appointed the DM of Bulandshahr.

Raids by CBI teams were conducted on Wednesday. FIR against 14 persons, including five IAS officers and Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, who held the mining portfolio from 2013 to 2016, wereregistered by the central investigating agency. The five IAS officers are Abhay Singh, Vivek, Devi SharanUpadhyaya, JiweshNandan and Santosh Kumar.

Nandan was the principal secretary, geology and mining and Santosh Kumar, special secretary in the same department when Prajapati was the mining minister in the AkhileshYadav regime.

CBI sources said JiweshNandan has already been interrogated in this connection. It is alleged in the CBI’s case that irregularities were committed in awarding mining licences to the mining mafia. It has been alleged that a syndicate used to function in awarding the mining lease. Reports claimed about Rs. 59 lakh cash was recovered by the CBI sleuths from the residence of two officers.Of this, Rs. 49 lakh in cash is alleged to have been recovered from the official residence of the ( former) Bulandshahr DM, Abhay Singh.

In a press statementreportedly issued by Singh following the CBI raid, the officer said the agency has been apprised that investigation into the mining ‘pattas'( leases ) were not related to his tenure as the then DM of Fatehpur.

Another Rs. 10 lakh in cash was reportedly recovered from the Azamgarh residence of (former) CDO, Devi SharanUpadhyaya.

Simultaneous raids by CBI teams were conducted at 12 places in Bulandshahr, Lucknow, Fatehpur, Azamgarh, Prayagraj, Noida, Gorakhour and Deoria on Wednesday. Wednesday’s raid by the CBI was the third raid in different locations in Uttar Pradesh this year in connection with the irregularities committed in awarding mining leases from 2012 to 2017. The first raid in 2019 was conducted on January 2, 2019 at 12 locations in the state. The Lucknow residence of the then district magistrate of Hamirpur, B. Chandrakala was raided by the CBI sleuths. A case was registered by the CBI against 11 persons. Another raid was conducted by the CBI on June 12 when 22 locations were raided by the investigating agency. Among the places raided by the CBI were locations associated with Gayatri Prasad Prajapati in Amethi and Lucknow.