- Senior bureaucrats caught on tape asking for bribes inside Vidhan Sabha
- They wanted bribes for transfers, contract for mining, books
- Sting operation had embarrassed Yogi Adityanath government
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Uttar Pradesh Police has arrested the personal secretaries of three state ministers on charges of corruption and bribery. They had come under the scanner after a news channel caught them seeking bribes inside the Vidhan Sabha premises during a sting operation conducted on Wednesday. The Yogi Adityanath government set up the SIT headed by Additional Director General (Lucknow zone) Rajiv Krishnan to probe the charges soon after ABP News aired the video.
The three secretaries were suspended, and the Chief Minister called a meeting with the team at his residence.
The Chief Secretary had sought the SIT's report by 11 am on Thursday.
The arrested secretaries were employed in the offices of Mining, Excise and Prohibition Minister Archana Pandey; Backward Classes Welfare Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar; and Education Minister Sandeep Singh. Om Prakash Kashyap -- personal secretary of Backward Welfare Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar -- is purportedly seen seeking Rs 40 lakh for a transfer in the sting video. The other two are seen striking illicit deals on mining and books.
The sting operation also produced alleged recordings of a secretariat staffer assuring the reporter posing as a contractor that he would be awarded a schoolbag-and-uniform contract.
"The personal secretaries of three UP ministers who were caught in a sting taking a bribe have now been arrested and sent to judicial custody. All angles are being probed," Lucknow Additional Director General of Police Rajiv Krishna told news agency ANI.
Yogi Adityanath has repeatedly said that he wants to achieve complete honesty in the state's functioning, and insists that the government adopts a zero-tolerence policy towards corruption.