Memorials with giant statues of elephants and BSP icons, built during Mayawati's rule in Uttar Pradesh, were under scrutiny today as the Enforcement Directorate raided half a dozen places in state capital Lucknow. The raids come weeks after the CBI launched an inquiry into the role of Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati's alliance partner in UP for the national election, in alleged illegal mining.
The two leaders, both former chief ministers, have accused the ruling BJP at the centre of using investigative agencies to target political rivals and punish the opposition "gathbandhan" or alliance.
"Petty politics and political conspiracy are not new for the BJP. The people of the country have understood it and they will teach the BJP a lesson in the Lok Sabha polls," said Mayawati.
The Enforcement Department had filed a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to investigate the alleged irregularities flagged by the state vigilance department in 2014.
The vigilance department complaint claimed that Uttar Pradesh suffered losses of around Rs 111 crore in the construction of the memorials, including statues of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and the party's poll symbol 'elephant', when Mayawati was in power between 2007 and 2012.
The UP government had built memorials, statues and parks at a cost of over Rs 2,600 crore in Lucknow, Noida and other places.
The UP Lokayukta had indicted two cabinet colleagues of Mayawati - Nasmeedunin Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha - besides 12 BSP lawmakers for alleged ''wrong-doings'' in the purchase of sandstone for the memorials.
On January 5, the CBI had raided several locations in Lucknow in connection with what it called a mining scam, which allegedly has links with Akhilesh Yadav. After the raids, Mayawati had called her alliance partner and said, "Do not be shaken by such gimmicks". She had also assured Akhilesh Yadav of her "full support" after reports emerged that he might be questioned by the CBI.
Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav announced their alliance for the national election, due by May, on January 12. The two left the Congress out of their club.