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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Mayawati suspends 2 ministers over financial bungling

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Wednesday suspended Secondary Education Minister Rangnath Mishra and Labour Minister Badshah Singh on charges of financial irregularities.

The ministers were sacked after UP Lokayukta, Justice (retired) N. K. Mehrotra, indicted them for possessing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.

Mishra was found guilty of amassing assets worth Rs 200 crore. In a letter written to the CM on Tuesday, Justice Mehrotra had recommended his suspension and suggested a CBI inquiry against the minister.

On the other hand, Badshah Singh was charged with grabbing gram sabha land. A muscleman of Mahoba in Bundelk-hand, the sacked minister has over half a dozen serious cases against him.

Though Mayawati claimed that the ministers were sacked to ensure that they do not influence the ongoing inquiry against them, it was clear that she had come under pressure to project a clean image of the party in view of the upcoming assembly elections in UP and the anti-corruption sentiment whipped up by Anna Hazare.
"This decision has also been taken to frustrate the design of the Opposition parties, who do not miss any chance to politicise such issues. We do not want to allow anybody to tarnish the BSP's image. Although these two ministers met our national president Mayawati and claimed that they had been targeted by their political rivals, she decided to remove them till the charges are proved wrong," Swami Prasad Maurya, state president of the BSP, said.

He informed that the CM had also ordered a vigilance inquiry against Badshah Singh and Awadh Pal Singh Yadav. Yadav was removed from the post of dairy development and animal husbandry minister last month after the Lokayukta found him guilty of misusing department funds and favouring his son. He was also alleged to have grabbed gram sabha land.

"While our CM is taking strict action against senior members in the government, the scene is different in BJP-ruled states such as Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. They are not taking any action on the reports of the Lokayukta," Maurya said.

Another BSP leader, however, said Mayawati was scared of Anna Hazare's campaign.
"She has not been comfortable since Anna announced that he will observe three days of fast in Lucknow against tainted candidates," a party source said.

According to him, Mayawati was trying to obviate the adverse consequences of Anna's proposed fast by removing all the corrupt elements in the party.

"Many more senior leaders will face the axe in the coming months," he added.


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