Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday sacked state Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati over allegations of corruption, days after the High Court rejected the SP government’s plea to withdraw an order for a CBI probe into alleged illegal mining in the state. “The Chief Minister has sacked Gayatri Prajapati and a letter for the same has been sent to Raj Bhavan,” a senior officer said.
Yadav was said to be unhappy with the minister who was mired in controversy over allegations of promoting illegal mining. The opposition, however, alleged that the sacking of the minister was just an eyewash to hide the corruption in mining sector.
Taking a grim view of illegal mining in Uttar Pradesh, 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.
“Illegal mining is rampant in the state and it is an open secret that he was promoting it. Now when the HC has taken serious view of the matter and ordered CBI probe, the CM’s decision is mere an eyewash. It will not help as people know the reality,” Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi said. BJP state general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said it was good that CM has taken the decision to sack the minister.
“Our party has been raising the matter of illegal mining in the state. The decision should have been taken earlier,” Pathak said. 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.