A former top official with Uttar Pradesh's power department was arrested in Lucknow on Tuesday morning amid a political tussle over an alleged Rs 2,500-crore scam involving the Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL), a private firm accused of money laundering and financial irregularities. Two other officials were taken into custody a few days ago.
AP Mishra was appointed to the post of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) managing director during the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party's reign. He and two other senior officials, Praveen Kumar Gupta and Sudhanshu Dwivedi, are accused of illegally investing employee provident fund amounting to Rs 2,500 crore in the scam-hit DHFL.
The money continues to remain with the private company
The scam has sparked off a political blame game in the state, with the ruling party and the opposition accusing each other of financial fraud. While the Yogi Adityanath government has claimed that the fraud was conceived by officials close to Akhilesh Yadav during his tenure as the Chief Minister between 2012 and 2017, the latter contends that the decision to transfer the funds was taken five days after the BJP swept to power in the state.
Upon being asked to resign by the opposition, State Energy Minister Shrikant Sharma today shot back by asking them to first look inwards. "It is laughable that parties whose names are synonymous with corruption have levelled allegations against the government of a sanyasi (Yogi Adityanath)," he said.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, in response, claimed that the government was trying to cover up its misdeeds. "This government is desperate to hide the truth and has recommended a CBI probe in haste. If an impartial probe is held, the truth will emerge," he said.
Earlier, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had also taken on the Yogi Adityanath government. "The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh invested the money from the provident fund of the state's power corporation personnel in a defaulting company like DHFL. Whose interest was to be served by investing more than Rs 2,000 crore of the employees' hard-earned money in such a company? Is it justified to play with the future of the employees?" she asked.
An FIR has been registered against AP Mishra at Lucknow's Hazratganj police station.