By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 22 Jun: Senior IAS officer Ram Vilas Yadav, who currently faces many serious charges against him, finally reached the Vigilance Office to face questioning, here, today. It may be recalled that Yadav had on Monday approached the Uttarakhand High Court seeking relief in this regard but had failed to obtain it. In fact, the Court had rebuked him and directed him to face the questioning. As a result, Yadav reached the Vigilance Office, here, at around 12:48 p.m. in a private car to face questioning. He chose not to respond to the queries of the media persons standing outside the office of the Vigilance Department and headed straight inside.
It may be recalled that, amongst the cases that Yadav faces, one is related to having assets disproportionate by 500 times to his known sources of income. Yadav was taken inside for questioning amidst police security. The media was not allowed inside. Yadav is due to retire on 30 June and there is a probability of his retirement benefits being held up if he is chargesheeted. Otherwise, despite the cases, he will retire in peace though he will continue to face charges and may ultimately get penalised for his alleged wrongdoings.
Sources claim that the Vigilance Department has now accelerated the inquiry against him in view of the fact that he is due to retire on 30 June, though it will still be a race against time. It may be recalled that the Government had earlier granted permission to go ahead with registering a case against him and, thereafter, several properties either allegedly owned by him or benami, were raided by the Vigilance Department in Uttar Pradesh (UP) as well as Dehradun. Sources claim that Yadav owns at least 8 properties in his name in Doon, itself, and some benami ones. According to the claims made by sources in UP Government, he owns several properties in his name or benami in Lucknow, as well, costing well above Rs 60 crores.
Yadav had been asked to appear before the Vigilance Department to face questioning for some time now but he was not appearing despite several summons issued to him in this regard. Instead, he had chosen to apply for a stay against the summons by approaching the High Court. However, the High Court asked him to appear before the Vigilance Department before approaching the court and he failed to get the stay. In compliance with the orders of the Court, Yadav finally appeared before the Vigilance Department to face questioning. It may be recalled that Yadav’s counsel, Abhinav Sharma, had claimed before the High Court that Yadav was cooperating in the investigation. Sharma was present at the office of Vigilance Department today, also, when Yadav reached the Vigilance Department. In response to media queries, Sharma questioned the motives of the Vigilance Department, claiming that Yadav had always cooperated with everyone concerned in the inquiry and he would provide all documentary evidence in support of his claims.
Sources claim that Yadav, who was earlier an IAS officer of the UP cadre, was quite close to the Yadavs of the Samajwadi Party. It was during the SP reign that he held charge of several creamy departments including Secretary of the Lucknow Development Authority for a long time. However, after the year 2017, he had started feeling the heat in UP and had, therefore, used some political contacts within BJP to get his cadre changed to Uttarakhand in 2019. In Uttarakhand, he is currently posted as Additional Secretary in the Social Welfare Department. After, a case was registered against former LDA Secretary Ram Vilas Yadav, the vigilance teams from UP and Uttarakhand had raided his houses in Purnia and Lucknow. Apart from this, Vigilance also raided his properties in Ghazipur and Ghaziabad in UP. He also held the post of Additional Director, Mandi Parishad, in UP for a long time.
On a complaint filed by social worker Hemant Kumar Mishra, the Uttarakhand Government on 9 January, 2019, ordered an inquiry by the Vigilance Department. UP Government’s departments have also handed over certain documents related to the case to the Uttarakhand Vigilance Department for further action.