Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday said he was ready to face a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with an illegal sand mining case. The statement came a day after the agency carried out searches in connection with the case at 14 locations in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. He also questioned the timing of the raids.

Yadav claimed that parties wanting to thwart the Samajwadi Party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections were using the CBI. “Those who want to stop us have the CBI with them,” he said, adding that the CBI had questioned him once when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was in power. “If the Bharatiya Janata Party is doing all this, the CBI will question me, I will answer [them]. But, the people are ready to give an answer to the BJP.”

Unidentified officials had earlier said that the CBI may also investigate Yadav and former minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati in connection with illegal sand mining.

“Why is the CBI conducting raids?” Yadav asked. “Whatever they want to ask, they can ask me. However, the BJP should remember that the culture it is leaving behind, it may have to face it in the future.”

Taking a jibe at the National Democratic Alliance government, Yadav said now the party would have to tell the CBI about seat distribution in its alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party. Both parties on Saturday agreed “in principle” to an alliance ahead of the upcoming elections. “Now we have to tell the CBI as to how many seats we have distributed in the ‘gathbandhan’ [alliance],” said Yadav. “I am happy that at least the BJP has shown its colours.”

Raids not politically motivated: BJP

The BJP on Sunday demanded a CBI probe against Yadav for his alleged involvement in a case of illegal sand mining and rejected accusations that the raids were politically motivated. “The BJP demands that the CBI should investigate Akhilesh Yadav,” said Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh. He claimed that the state government, during Yadav’s tenure as chief minister from 2012 to 2017, was “hand in glove” with the mining syndicate.

“If you loot public money, then law will take its own course,” Singh added.