The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mayavati leads skeleton hunt

Lucknow, March 9: Stung by the Samajwadi Party’s disclosure of video tapes showing her asking Bahujan Samaj Party MPs and MLAs to give part of their constituency development funds to the party, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati is hitting back in an effort to prove that bete noire Mulayam Singh Yadav is as guilty.

State government officials have started raiding educational institutions managed by Mulayam Yadav’s supporters and family members in Etawah to unearth evidence that Samajwadi legislators were made to fund these through their constituency development funds.

On Mayavati’s directive, the chief secretary has asked all district magistrates to prepare a list of those who benefited from the chief minister’s discretionary funds during Mulayam Yadav’s tenure.

The officials have been asked to verify if the funds were actually used for the purpose for which they were doled out and prosecute those found guilty of misusing the money.

Sources said Mayavati launched the offensive after she learnt that quite a few of these beneficiaries had allegedly been given money for questionable causes, including running schools that existed only on paper.

The BSP chief had rebutted Samajwadi’s allegation that she had asked MLAs and MPs to divert part of their constituency development funds to the party and had threatened to expose Mulayam Yadav.

“During his (Mulayam’s) tenure, party leaders who had been given money from the chief minister’s discretionary fund had to deposit half of the amount in the Samajwadi’s coffers,” alleged the chief minister.

Mayavati is now relying on former Samajwadi activists who have switched over to her side to unearth skeletons in her rival’s cupboard. “It was Mulayam Yadav who had started this practice and Mayavati was only asking party activists not to follow the Samajwadi method but ensure proper utilisation of funds meant for development work,” said expelled Samajwadi MP Bhal Chandra Yadav who has now joined the BSP.

Another former Samajwadi leader, Rama Kant Yadav, claimed that he had given Rs 5 lakh to the party chief after getting Rs 10 lakh from the chief minister’s discretionary fund. “I have proof of that payment and am prepared to swear it on an affidavit,” he said.

Sources said that police officials have been asked to take a tough sand on Samajwadi activists with criminal backgrounds. “Old cases are being dug out and evidence for fresh prosecution is being collected,” a senior police official confirmed.

However, Samajwadi state general secretary Shiv Pal Singh Yadav said Mayavati’s campaign has not had any effect on the morale of party workers, who were prepared to continue their fight against her.

The Samajwadi leader claimed that the police did not recover anything incriminatory during raids conducted on educational institutions in Mulayam Yadav’s hometown during the last two days. “All works in these schools have been done through the district magistrate and the chief development officer of the district and even the money given by party MPs and MLAs from their constituency developments fund had been routed through government officials,” he said.

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