CBI Searches Jayanthi Natarajan House To Get to Rahul Gandhi

CBI tonight carried out massive searches at the premises of former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan in Chennai in a move to get to Rahul Gandhi.

Jayanthi
Former Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan will have to do a lot of explanation and may name Rahul Gandhi

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday night carried out massive searches at the premises of former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan in Chennai. This came soon after the investigating agency registered an FIR against the former Congress minister in connection with alleged anomalies in environment clearance in Jharkhand during the previous UPA regime. Many see this as a move to get close to the doorsteps of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and, possibly, his mother Sonia Gandhi. Or is this a clever move of the BJP to divert the attention from the killing of controversial journalist Gauri Lankesh?

Before Jayanthi Natarajan disgustingly quit the Congress in 2015, she had directly blamed Rahul and Sonia for forcing her hands in signing certain controversial environment clearances.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made this a campaign issue and had said during his campaigns that there was a `Jayanthi Tax’ on all big ticket clearances. Who took the cuts out of this alleged `tax’ is what the CBI will probe.

Jayanthi

If cornered, Jayanthi will surely name the people who made her to sign controversial deals. And topping the list would be Rahul Gandhi and, possibly Sonia Gandhi herself. Jayanthi, after all, has nothing to lose by naming them because she quit the party on a highly bitter note. But she will have to prove her charges with hard evidence.

The present case may throw further light on the details of `Jayanthi tax’ and the links with Rahul Gandhi. It is related to clearance given for diversion of forest land in Saranda Forest, Singhbhum District in Jharkhand to mining company Electrosteel in alleged violation of Forest (Conservation Act) in 2012. She was Minister of State for Environment with independent charge of the ministry between 2011 and 2013.

Besides Natarajan, the FIR also named Umang Kejriwal, the then managing director of Electrosteel Casting Limited, and the company besides other unidentified persons.

Jayanthi

Jayanthi Natarajan allegedly gave the permission after former environment minister Jairam Ramesh had flagged concerns and refused to give his nod for the same. “Jayanthi Natarajan, the then Minister of State for Environment and Forests accorded the approval for diversion of 55.79 hectares of forest land for non-forestry use to ECL, though the same had been rejected by the earlier Minister of State…without any change in the circumstances after rejection,” the CBI FIR alleged.

The investigating agency also said Jayanthi Natarajan allegedly gave the approval without adhering to the advice of Director General Forests and directions of Supreme Court in this regard.

Raj Shankar

Shankar Raj is a senior journalist with more than 30 years experience, mostly with The Indian Express and The New Indian Express. He was the Editor for Karnataka and Kerala editions of The New Indian Express, and former Managing Editor of the Nyusu Digital Media P Ltd. Bengaluru.

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