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3 secretariat staff of Uttar Pradesh ministers suspended on corruption charges

Lucknow | Three secretariat staff attached to Uttar Pradesh ministers were suspended on charges of corruption following a sting operation by a news channel, according to a state government release.

They were suspended on orders of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who also directed officials to register a police case against them, the release said. It said as per the chief minister’s direction the matter will be probed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and it will submit its report within 10 days after taking statements of all parties in the case.

The SIT will be led by Additional Director General of Police, Lucknow Zone, Rajiv Krishna, the release issued said on Thursday. Directives have also been issued to the secretariat administration for review of such matters so that such cases do not recur, it said.

According to reports in a section of the media, a sting operation was conducted by a TV channel purportedly showing three personal secretaries of ministers allegedly seeking bribe in return for favours such as transfers and issuing of contracts. The chief minister had earlier issued clear instructions to adopt complete honesty in the government’s functioning and clarified that the government had zero-tolerence policy towards corruption, the release said.

In the sting operation, Om Prakash Kashyap, personal secretary of Backward Welfare Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar is purportedly seen seeking Rs. 40 lakh for a transfer. Mr Rajbhar, who is a minister from the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), said he has removed his personal secretary and written a letter to the chief minister for stern action against him.

In the same sting operation, an aide of Minister of State for Mining Archana Pandey, is shown allegedly striking a deal with the channel’s reporter for getting him mining contracts in about six districts.

Santosh Awasthi, personal secretary to the MoS Basic Education Sandeep Singh, is also seen in the sting operation allegedly working out a deal for a contract for books and seeking his own cut. Sandeep Singh is the grandson of former UP chief minister and current Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh.

The sting operation also produced alleged recordings of a secretariat staff assuring the reporter, who posed as a contractor, that a school bag and uniform contract would be swung in his favour.

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