Lucknow: The BJP on Sunday hit back at former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for accusing the party of using the CBI against him for political gains, saying that the central probe agency does not work “keeping mind timing of elections or ‘gathbandhans’.”

“Akhilesh ji you cannot loot and beat your chest over it. You’ve looted the people and law is taking its course. In 2016, Allahabad HC took cognizance of the matter and gave it to CBI. CBI does not work keeping in mind timing of elections or ‘gathbandhans’,” said UP Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh.

Reacting to reports that he may face a probe by the CBI in an illegal mining case in the state, Yadav on Sunday hit out at the BJP for “showing its true colours”.

Incidentally, the report came on a day when arch rivals SP and BSP indicated their intent to join hands in Uttar Pradesh to counter the ruling BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“The ruling party has shown its true colours. Earlier, the Congress gave the opportunity to meet the CBI, now the BJP. The saffron party should know that whatever they do, they will have to face the consequences of the same later,”said Yadav, while interacting with reporters.

He added, “We want to win the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats. Those who want to stop us have the CBI with them. But the people of India are ready to give an answer to the BJP.”

On Saturday, the CBI carried out searches at 14 locations on Saturday in connection with its FIR against 11 persons including IAS officer B Chandrakala, Samajwadi Party MLC Ramesh Kumar Mishra and Sanjay Dixit (who unsuccessfully contested the 2017 assembly election on a BSP ticket) to probe alleged illegal mining of minor minerals in Hamirpur district during 2012-16.

Akhilesh Yadav, who was the chief minister of the state between 2012 and 2017, held the mining portfolio during 2012-13 apparently bringing his role under scanner, according to the FIR.

He was succeeded by Gayatri Prajapati, who took charge as mining minister in 2013 and was arrested in 2017 following a complaint of rape by a woman residing in Chitrakoot.

This is a third FIR pertaining to illegal mining cases which were registered by the agency on January 2, 2019, nearly two-and-a-half year after it was directed by the Allahabad High Court to probe the issue.

The CBI was directed by the High Court on July 28, 2016 to probe illegal mining in the state following which it had registered seven preliminary enquiries out of which two pertaining to Shamli and Kaushambi districts were converted into FIRs in 2017.

Senior officials said cases pertaining to Fatehpur, Deoria, Saharanpur and Siddharth Nagar districts will be filed soon.

The agency is probing the illegal mining during the period of 2012 and 2016.

The searches of the agency took place on a day the Samajwadi Party and the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party gave contours of an electoral alliance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The coming together of the two arch rivals may spell trouble for the ruling BJP which had a home run in 2014 elections when it won 71 out of total 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

The FIR also states that it was the Uttar Pradesh government under Akhilesh Yadav that had introduced e-tendering process to grant or renew mining leases on May 31, 2012, a move ratified by the Allahabad High Court in 2013.