A day after recommending a CBI probe into the investment of over Rs 2,600 crore by the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Employees' provident fund in scam-hit housing finance firm DHFL, the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday accused Akhilesh Yadav of "opening gate of corruption" with the decision.
Facing opposition's attack over the investment, the UP government sought to set the records straight, asserting that the "dubious" decision was taken by Akhilesh Yadav's government in April 2014 and the process of investment was further carried forward during 2016.
And the then secretary Praveen Kumar Gupta of the UP State Power Employees Trust and UPPCL's Provident Fund Trust, and UPPCL's former Director (Finance) Sudhanshu Dwivedi began the actual investment in DHFL from March 2017 even without bringing the matter to the knowledge of the UPPCL's managing director, said UP Energy Minister and state government's spokesperson Shrikant Sharma.
The two began investing UPPCL's employees provident fund in DHFL despite a clearance to deposit the money for a fixed period in the Punjab National Bank, he added.
Hitting out at Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for targeting the Yogi Adityanath government on the issue, Mr Sharma said, "It is laughable that the parties, whose names are synonymous with corruption have levelled allegations against the government of a ''sanyasi'' (Yogi Adityanath)."
Detailing chronology of the investment decision, Mr Sharma said, "During Akhilesh Yadav's regime on April 21, 2014, it was decided that if there are options of getting more interest, the amount of EPF and GPF can be invested there (DHFL)."
"The process of investment was carried forward in 2016 and on December 17, 2016, the Trust's secretary (Gupta) and UPPCL's finance director were authorised for this. After this, from March 2017, the process to investment of the EPF money in DHFL began," he said.
After getting a complaint of the "dubious investment" on July 10, 2019, a committee was constituted within two days on July 12, 2019, the minister said, adding the committee report was submitted to the government on August 29 and on the basis of its recommendations, "our government has initiated strict action".
"He is trying to put our government in the dock alleging corruption, but he should reply why his government prepared the ground for corruption. Was not the entire matter going on Akhilesh's directions?"
The Energy Department portfolio was with Akhilesh Yadav at that time, he pointed out.
The senior minister also lashed out at Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi for making allegations against the BJP government.
Priyanka Gandhi, in tweet, had said, "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?"
Mr Sharma hit back, saying, "She (Priyanka) too should tell the people why her husband grabbed land of farmers in Bikaner and Haryana."
"The matter has been referred to the CBI and those involved will be dealt with strictly," the minister said, adding the government will also ensure the recovery of the money left with DHFL.