CBI raids former Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan's premises in Chennai

CBI raids former Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan's premises in Chennai”

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a first information report (FIR) against former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan in a case relating to undue favours given to a private firm for carrying out mining activities in an environmentally delicate region.

Natarajan, 63, served as the Environment Minister between July 2011 to December 2013 in the UPA government-led by Dr Manmohan Singh.

According to media reports, a probe is already being carried out by the CBI against the concerned officials in the same case.

Now, it is accused that the officials aided the grant of clearance for diversion of 512-hectare Saranda forest land between 2007 and 2013. She also accused Rahul Gandhi of interfering with decision-making during her tenure as minister in the United Progressive Alliance II.

The CBI has registered an FIR against Ms Natrajan for the alleged violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act.

The federal anti-corruption agency registered five preliminary enquiries (PEs) in 2014-15 for probing alleged irregularities and corruption charge in environment clearances stalled and approved during her tenure - some of them against unknown environment ministry officials, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and JSW Steel - for clearances to Rungta Mines in Ghatkuri Reserve Forest of Jharkhand and others. The sleuths have also named Umang Kejriwal, the then managing director of Electrosteel Casting Limited, in the case.

5- It said this approval had been accorded without adhering to the advice of Director General Forests and directions of Supreme Court in this regard. The party claimed her tirade against Rahul was a bid to cover-up the corruption allegations being levelled against her.

Soon after the irregularities had become public, Natarajan had sought to project her innocence by writing a damning letter to Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi alleging that all major decisions of her ministry were taken at the behest of party vice president Rahul Gandhi.

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