UP minister's assets grow 500 times in two years

Uttar Pradesh Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati’s assets grew a whopping 500 times since he joined the State Cabinet around two and a half years ago, a complaint lodged with the UP Lokayukta here has claimed.

The complaint, being investigated by the Lokayukta, said Prajapati had properties worth Rs 1.81 crore when he contested the Assembly polls in 2012 from the Amethi seat. He defeated senior Congress leader Amita Singh in the polls. It alleged that the minister now has property worth Rs 942 crore.

Complainant Om Shankar Dwivedi had submitted documents purportedly showing the list of land bought by the minister in the name of his relatives and family members over the past few years.

Dwivedi has claimed that Prajapati has 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 holds an above poverty line (APL) card. “Many of the properties Prajapati bought are also in the names of APL card-holders. From where did they get the money to buy the property?” 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 part of a conspiracy to tarnish his and the state government's image. “I will quit politics if the allegations are proved,” he said, adding that he was ready to face any probe.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav also sought to make light of the complaint, saying that every piece of news reported in the media was 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.

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