UP minister's wealth rose 500-fold

State Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati’s assets grew a whopping 500 times since joining the state cabinet around two and a half years back, claimed a complaint lodged with the UP Lokayukta here.

The complaint, which was being investigated by the Lokayukta, claimed that Prajapati has properties worth Rs 1.81 crore when he had contested the Assembly polls in 2012 from Amethi seat. Prajapati had defeated senior Congress leader Amita Singh in the polls.

It alleged that the minister now has properties worth Rs 942 crore. The complainant had submitted documents purportedly showing list of land bought by the minister in the names of his relatives and family members in the last few years.

Complainant Om Shankar Dwivedi has claimed that Prajapati had bought properties at many places in the state, including Lucknow and Amethi.“The complaint against the minister runs into 1,727 pages,” said an official here on Friday.

Dwivedi also claimed that Prajapati was a holder of the above poverty line (APL) card. “Many of the properties bought by Prajapati are also in the names of APL card holders. From where did they get the money to buy the properties?” Dwivedi sought to know.

Lokayukta Justice (Retd) N K Mehrotra confirmed receiving the complaint. “The complaint has been received and will be probed,” he said on Friday.

Prajapati, however, claimed that the complaint was ‘politically motivated’ and was part of a ‘conspiracy’ to tarnish his and the image of the state government. “I will quit politics if the allegations are proved,” he said. He said he was ready to face any probe.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav also sought to make light of the complaint saying “every news that is reported in the media is not true”. 

“The minister will reply to the allegations. Anyone can lodge a complaint,” he told reporters at Kanpur on Friday. Prajapati is not new to controversies. 

Recently, the High Court had issued a notice to him on a complaint of alleged land-grabbing at Amethi.  Some women from Amethi had also demonstrated here a few days back in protest against what they alleged ‘grabbing of government land by the minister’.

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