Ending a day of war of words, exchange of letters, and trading of allegations between the Congress and the Yogi Adityanath government over Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s offer to arrange 1,000 buses to ferry migrant workers stranded at Uttar Pradesh’s border areas to their home districts, an FIR was lodged on Tuesday against state Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu and Priyanka’s private secretary Sandeep Singh on charges of cheating and forgery.
Lallu, who staged a dharna at the Agra border along with AICC secretary in charge of UP Zubair Khan, was arrested by Agra police after an FIR was registered at Fatehpur Sikri police station there.
Earlier, the FIR in the bus row case was registered at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station, even as the vehicles remained stranded at UP-Rajasthan border near Agra until late.
Lallu and Sandeep are accused of allegedly misleading the government for furnishing wrong details about the buses, as also making false statements.
The FIR has been lodged by Lucknow’s Regional Transport Officer R P Dwivedi, who conducted inquiry on the list of 1,000 buses provided by the Congress. Dwivedi verified the bus numbers and found 100 vehicles registered in the name of auto-rickshaws or good carrier, truck and ambulance, etc, the FIR states.
Data for 70 buses was not found, and fitness certificates of 59 vehicles had expired, it states.
The row began Monday night after Priyanka’s office received a letter at midnight from UP Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi, asking that the buses, along with their fitness certificates and licences of drivers, be handed over to the administration in Lucknow by 10 am Friday.
Sandeep Singh wrote back at 2.10 am, asking why the buses should travel empty from the state’s borders all the way to Lucknow. In its reply, UP government asked them to hand over 500 buses each to Noida and Ghaziabad district administrations by Friday noon.
Priyanka’s office replied that it received the letter at 11.05 am and sought time until 5 pm to make the buses available since the vehicles were being sourced from Delhi and Rajasthan and required fresh permits.
UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh alleged that the list included registration numbers of other vehicles and accused the party of playing cheap politics.
In reply, the Congress said there could be discrepancies in some numbers but the fact that hundreds of buses are awaiting clearance to enter UP at Agra border can be verified. The party released video clips to back its claim.
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