Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath summoned minister Swati Singh on Saturday, a day after the recording of a purported phone call emerged in which Singh allegedly threatens a police officer for registering an FIR against real estate giant Ansal.
Adityanath has also asked DGP Om Prakash Singh to submit a detailed report on the matter within 24 hours.
In the recording, Swati Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Women’s Welfare, Child Development & Nutrition, purportedly questions DSP Beenu Singh, posted as circle officer (CO) of Lucknow’s Cantonment area, for lodging an FIR against Ansal Developers, and allegedly says that there are orders “from above” that no FIR be registered against them, and that this was in “the CM’s knowledge”.
“Aapne Ansal ka koi FIR likha hai? Kyun likha aapne? Aapko pata nahi hai ke upar se aadesh hai ke koi FIR abhi likha nahi jayega? (Have you registered any FIR against Ansal? Why did you register it? Don’t you know that there is an order from above that no FIR will be registered at this point?” the minister purportedly says in the audio recording.
After the DSP responds that the FIR was registered after an investigation, Swati Singh allegedly responds, “Kaun si jaanch ho gayi bhai? Itna high-profile case hai. Pura jaanch chal raha hai. CM sahab tak ke sangyan me ye cheezen hain. Aap kaun si jaanch kar rahin hain char din aaye hue hua aapko (What investigation took place? This is such a high-profile case. There is investigation going on and even the chief minister knows about all this. What investigation did you do, someone who has come here only four days ago?)”
The chief minister’s media advisor Mrityunjay Kumar said: “Today, the minister was asked by the chief minister to come and meet him. Chief Minister talked on the matter of the viral audio and showed his anger on the issue. The meeting started around 10.30 am and went on for around 15 minutes. It can be said that the minister was exclusively inquired over this particular matter though there was no one else present in the room. Meanwhile, CM has also asked the state DGP to submit a detailed report on the matter within 24 hours.”
Government sources have said that Adityanath was not happy over his name being mentioned by the minister, and that the matter has adversely affected his government’s reputation. They said that during their meeting, Adityanath told Swati Singh that she was in public life, and therefore, needed to be aware of what and where she is speaking.
An Ansal spokesperson in Delhi said: “We are not aware of the matter and in any case since we are not involved in this, we can’t say anything.”
The Sunday Express attempted to contact Swati Singh and DSP Singh, but neither responded to phone calls.
After the audio recording emerged on social media, Opposition parties attacked the Adityanath government.
“An Uttar Pradesh minister is threatening CO Cantonment in defending the corrupt Ansal builders. The minister is saying that the matter is in the knowledge of the CM and that there is an order from above against any FIR registered on this. Look at the influence of the corrupt in the BJP regime — that a minister is threatening the protectors of law,” UP PCC chief Ajay Kumar Lallu said in a statement. He also said that if Swati Singh is not removed from the state cabinet, the state Congress committee would begin a protest against her.
Meanwhile, the official Twitter account of the Samajwadi Party posted in Hindi, “…Is this the zero tolerance for corruption which the chief minister is not tired of speaking about? Shame!”
In September, Ansal API vice-chairman Pranav Ansal was arrested by Lucknow Police in Delhi following allegations of fraud and diversion of money. In a statement, police said chairman Sushil Ansal and Pranav Ansal, along with their associates, were cheating customers and used to misbehave and threaten them at their office.