CBI judge Shivpal Singh denied that Manan Akhtar had called him in connection with Lalu Yadav case.

New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh government of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given a clean chit to Manan Akhtar, the district magistrate of Jalaun, after its inquiry failed to prove that the Muslim IAS officer had called a CBI judge to influence the quantum of punishment to Lalu Yadav in the fodder scam.

The inquiry was ordered by the chief minister himself based on news reports last month.

Speaking to ThePrint following the publication of reports, CBI judge Shivpal Singh had denied that Akhtar had called him in connection with the Lalu Yadav case.

CM Adityanath had asked then Jhansi divisional commissioner Amit Gupta to probe the allegations against Akhtar and submit a report.

Gupta had on 13 January called the CBI judge to verify the allegations. “The commissioner had called me and I told him that the DM never called me on my phone,” judge Singh told ThePrint.

Sources said that around two weeks ago, Gupta submitted his report to the chief minister who forwarded it to the chief secretary. Gupta was redesignated as managing director of Uttar Pradesh Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited on 11 January, but was asked to take charge only after the inquiry was over.

“I feel relieved after the report,” said Akhtar. “I will send legal notices to the newspapers which published the false reports and tried to tarnish my image. I stand vindicated after the report.”

As reported by ThePrint, at the heart of the controversy was a land dispute, dating back to the 1990s, involving judge Singh’s family in his native village of Shahpur Khurd in Jalaun district. Singh had met the DM in October last year when he was spending his vacation in the village in connection with the dispute. However, there was no meeting between the judge and the DM after that.

On 23 December, while convicting Yadav and others in one of the fodder scam cases, the judge said in court that he was getting calls to grant relief to Yadav in the case.

Some media reports published on 10 January suggested that DM Manan Akhtar had called Singh to grant some relief to Lalu Yadav in the case.

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