Launches a tirade against Lokayukta; threatens to get him removed

Uttar Pradesh Energy Minister Ramveer Upadhyaya was at the centre of a controversy on Saturday after he launched a tirade against Lokayukta Justice N. K. Mehrotra and even threatened to get him removed.

With several members of the Mayawati Ministry facing the heat from the anti-graft Ombudsman, Upadhyaya went on the offensive, claiming he had a better understanding of law than the judge.

The remarks were under the scanner of the Election Commission which is awaiting a report from the Hathras District Magistrate in this regard.

“The District Magistrate has informed us about the incident and he is sending a factual report to the Chief Electoral Office,” Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said.

He said that once the report was received, it will be examined whether the Minister's remarks come under the purview of model code of conduct or not.

Upadhyaya, while addressing a public meeting in Hathras on Friday evening, had made a reference to BJP national general secretary Kirit Somaiya's complaint against him with the Lokayukta, and said that nothing was found.

“If I did not have personal relationship with the Lokayukta....I could have moved the Supreme Court and got him removed,” he said.

The Minister added, “I had been a student of law and I know law very well...I know law more than him.”

Reacting to the Minister's outburst, Justice Mehrotra said the statement was made out of anxiety at the behest of the BSP and the Election Commission should take cognisance of the matter. “People will teach him a lesson in the elections,” he added.

The BJP slammed Upadhyaya for his remarks and demanded that Governor B. L. Joshi seek an explanation from him.

“The party will write letters to the Governor, the chief secretary and the cabinet secretary to seek an explanation from the Minister,” BJP national secretary Kirit Somaiya told reporters.

He alleged that Upadhyaya's remark against Justice N. K. Mehrotra was contempt of the judicial process.

“First the Minister threatened the complainant and then the Lokayukta....This is contempt of judicial process,” Mr. Somaiya alleged.

The BJP leader had earlier lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta against the Energy Minister. “I told the Lokayukta that I want to meet him. He asked me to come to his house. Upadhyaya said that my stature was not so to be called to his office,” Mr Somaiya said. “It is an act out of anxiety...it's not an individual act, but party act,” Justice Mehrotra said on the Minister's statement.

The Lokayukta said on the one hand Upadhyaya claims of having personal relationships with him and on the other he threatens of approaching the Supreme Court and get me removed. “Probably it was an attempt to create pressure so that the inquiry against him does not proceed,” he added.