The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) summoned Akhilesh Yadav, former Samajwadi Party (SP) Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, as a witness to record his statement on Thursday in an illegal mining case of the state.

After registering FIRs five years ago on the directions of the Allahabad High Court, the CBI began the probe into e-tendering irregularities in mining licences. The allegations are that government servants allowed illegal mining during 2012-16 when Akhilesh Yadav was CM, and renewed licences overlooking a ban by the National Green Tribunal.

CrPC 160

CBI officials said that a notice was issued under section 160 of CrPC, which empowers an investigator to summon witness in a probe, asking SP leader Yadav to appear before it on February 29. He is not an accused in the case, the CBI officials clarified.

Yadav launched a verbal attack against the BJP accusing it of using the CBI move ahead of Lok Sabha elections. He said that the SP is on the target of the BJP and recalled that he was served a notice even before the 2019 general elections.

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The agency had charged that former CM cleared 13 projects on a single day on February 17, 2013 which allegedly was in violation of the e-tendering process. The CBI had registered seven preliminary enquiries (PEs), which is a prelude to FIRs, to investigate the issue. Yadav was also minister for mining at that time, as per the agency.

2012 e-tender policy

Giving a peep into irregularities committed, the agency had said that on February 17, 2013, the then Hamirpur district magistrate B Chandrakala gave mining leases after getting approval from the CM’s office in utter disregard to its 2012 e-tender policy.

In January 2019, the CBI carried out searches against 11 people, including IAS officer B Chandrakala, SP MLC Ramesh Kumar Mishra and Sanjay Dixit, to gather evidence for illegal mining of minor minerals in Hamirpur district.