The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered the suspension of personal secretaries of three ministers after they were allegedly caught negotiating bribes in exchange for contracts in a sting operation by ABP News, reported The Indian Express on Friday. The state government has also ordered an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team.
The sting operation showed the personal secretaries of Minister for Backward Class Welfare Om Prakash Rajbhar, Minister of State for Mining, Excise and Prohibition Archana Pandey, and Minister of State for Basic, Secondary and Higher Education Sandeep Singh purportedly asking for money in return for mining contracts and supply of school books and transfer of an official, according to ABP News.
Om Prakash Kashyap, SP Tripathi, and Santosh Awasthi were reportedly caught negotiating the bribes at the Secretariat in Lucknow. Kashyap is purportedly heard negotiating a deal for the transfer of an education official, while Tripathi was heard negotiating a mining contract for Saharanpur. Awasthi is purportedly heard asking for an “appropriate share” to finalise a contract for the supply of free books in government schools.
Chief Minister Adityanath’s office issued a statement saying he had ordered First Information Reports to be filed against the three secretariat employees. A Special Investigation Team under Additional Director General of Police (Lucknow Zone) Rajiv Krishna has been asked to submit a report within 10 days.
“The Chief Minister has said that his government has a zero-tolerance policy on corruption, and effective action will be taken if a complaint has been made at any level,” the statement said.
Archana Pandey, whose personal secretary was also caught in the sting operation, said action will be taken against SP Tripathi if found guilty, reported ABP News.