On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh government accused Akhilesh Yadav of “opening gate of corruption” as he recommended a CBI investigation into the investment of over Rs. 2,600 crores by the Uttar Pradesh Power Corruption Employees’ provident fund in scam-hit housing finance firm DHFL.

The UP government after facing opposition’s attack over the investment sought to set the records straight. It stated 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.

 Praveen Kumar Gupta, the then secretary 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, stated Shrikant Sharma, the UP Energy Minister and state government’s spokesperson.

He further claimed that despite a clearance to deposit the money for a fixed period in the Punjab National Bank, the two started investing UPPCL’s employee’s provident fund in DHFL.

Mr. Sharma slammed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for targeting the Yogi Adityanath government. “It is laughable that the parties, whose names are synonymous with corruption have leveled allegations against the government of a ”sanyasi” (Yogi Adityanath),” he stated. 

 “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),” he added. 

“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 authorized for this. After this, from March 2017, the process to investment of the EPF money in DHFL began,” he further stated.

The minister went on saying that on July 10, 2019, he got a complaint of the “dubious investment” and a committee was formed within two days on July 12, 2019. 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 added. 

“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?”

He pointed out that the Energy Department portfolio was with Akhilesh Yadav at that time. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi was criticized by the senior minister for making allegations against the BJP government. 

In a tweet, Priyanka Gandhi wrote,  “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?”

Hitting back at the tweet, Mr. Sharma said,  “She (Priyanka) too should tell the people why her husband grabbed land of farmers in Bikaner and Haryana.”

The minister further stated, “The matter has been referred to the CBI and those involved will be dealt with strictly,” adding the government will also make sure the recovery of the money left the DHFL. 

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