Thirteen months after he quit the Congress and joined the BJP to become a member of the Yogi Adityanath cabinet weeks later, PWD Minister Jitin Prasada now has his back to the wall.
On Tuesday, a day after Anil Kumar Pandey, Prasada’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD), was removed over allegations of transfers in PWD in exchange for money, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath suspended five officials including the PWD head of department for their alleged involvement in the matter.
A government spokesperson said action has been taken against Engineer-in-Chief (Development) and HOD Manoj Kumar Gupta, Chief Engineer Rakesh Kumar Saxena, Senior Staff Officer Shailendra Kumar Yadav, Administrative Officer Pankaj Dixit and Head Clerk Sanjay Kumar Chaurasia.
“It was found that they wereminvolved in irregularities and hence, they have been suspended,” an official said, adding that there could be further action in the matter.
Prasada did not respond to phone calls and text messages from The Indian Express for comment. OSD Pandey, who was removed Monday, had served with Prasada in Delhi when he was a minister in the UPA government.
Taking cognizance of complaints of irregularities in transfers in the PWD, Chief Minister Adityanath had ordered a probe on July 12. The probe report was submitted on July 16. “Based on the recommendation of the probe report, action was taken,” the government spokesperson said.
The probe committee comprised UP Agriculture Production Commissioner Manoj Kumar Singh and another senior officer, Devesh Chaturvedi. Action against Pandey was taken after the Chief Minister met the officials who investigated the matter.
The government spokesperson said action against the officials was part of the UP government’s policy of “zero tolerance towards corruption”.
The state government, in its order Monday, stated that complaints were received against Pandey. “He is relieved of his duties and is going to be sent back to the Central government… a vigilance probe and disciplinary action is recommended against him,” it stated.
An official said, “The matter is related to the transfer of engineers in the PWD. More than 150 transfers have been made, and changes of engineers’ divisions have been done in the last one month. These transfers seem to be arbitrary and some engineers were kept on the same post longer than the rules allow. Some engineers have also been granted postings in more than one division.”