The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Saturday arrested three state secretariat employees working as personal secretaries to his government’s ministers after they were purportedly shown negotiating bribes in exchange for contracts and official postings in a sting operation conducted by ABP news channel.
On December 27, the CM had ordered FIRs against the three employees and the formation of an SIT under ADG (Lucknow Zone) Rajiv Krishna to probe the allegations. The next day, an FIR was lodged at the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow against the three under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The sting shows 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 negotiating deals linked to mining contracts, supply of school books, and transfers.
The alleged accused – Om Prakash Kashyap, Santosh Awasthi and S P Tripathi – worked as personal secretaries to Rajbahar, Singh and Pandey respectively. “We will move the court on Monday to seek police remand of all the three accused for interrogation,” Rajiv Krishna said.
In the sting, Kashyap is purportedly heard negotiating the transfer of an education official. “Humko lagta hai 30 se 40 toh chalta hai (To me, it looks like 30-40 will do),” he is purportedly heard saying.
Awasthi is purportedly heard asking for a share to seal a contract f or the supply of free books in government schools. “Maan lijiye aapka 50 crore ka nikla toh 50 crore mein aap unko kya denge, woh hamein bataiye (If you get 50 crore, how much of it will you give him, you tell me that),” he is purportedly heard saying.
Tripathi is purportedly heard negotiating a mining contract for Saharanpur. “Ten per cent government mein aa raha hai.90 per cent alag se (Ten per cent is coming to the government. 90 per cent is separate),” he is purportedly heard saying.
“The SIT conducted searches at the residences of the three employees on January 1 and seized documents and their account details. A team also went to the office of the news channel to obtain the original CD of the sting operation,” Rajiv Krishna said. The seized documents would be examined and the SIT would also see if any other person is involved in the case, Krishna said, adding that they would also check the assets of the arrested accused.
“The seized CDs will be sent to lab for examination,” he said.