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Probe ordered against PS of three UP minister's after sting exposes graft talks

Probe ordered against PS of three UP ministers after sting exposes graft talks

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered a probe against personal secretaries of three senior ministers after a sting operation conducted by a TV channel showed them seeking bribes against favours like transfers, winging contracts in their favour, an official said on Thursday.

Additional Chief Secretary (Secretariat Administration) Mahesh Gupta has ordered the probe and in all likelihood they would be suspended anytime now, the source said.

In the sting operation, Om Prakash Kashyap, personal secretary of backward welfare minister Om Prakash Rajbhar is shown allegedly seeking Rs 40 lakh for a transfer.

There are also alleged recordings of the secretariat staff assuring the reporter posing as a contractor that a school bag and uniform contract would be swung in his favour and for the deal, talks will be held with the husband of minister of state for basic education Anupama Jaiswal.

The secretary of the minister is shown seeking commission in the tender of socks and shoes. The minister who is from the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) has clarified that he has nothing to do with the whole incident and has asked principal secretary of his department to order a probe into the whole issue.

In the same sting operation, secretary of MoS (Mining) Archana Pandey, is shown striking a deal with the reporter for getting him mining contracts in about half-a-dozen districts.

The secretary SP Tripathi will be investigated by a special investigation team (SIT), the minister said adding that stringent action will be taken against her PS.

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

The sting operation has come has a rude shock to the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in UP which has often spoken of probity and good governance.

On many public platforms, chief minister Adityanath has claimed that graft has been eradicated from the system under his watch.

The sting operation however has exposed his claims and could add to the ever growing woes of the BJP government.

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