Young officer’s suicide hits Mayawati governmentApril 7th, 2009 - 5:57 pm ICT by IANS
By Sharat Pradhan
Lucknow, April 7 (IANS) A young Uttar Pradesh official’s suicide due to alleged demands for bribes by his superiors is threatening to become an election campaign issue and has also refreshed public memory about the lynching of a government engineer in January in similar circumstances.
Syed Ghayas Ahmed, a 26-year-old assistant manager of the Uttar Pradesh Pradeshik Cooperative Federation (UPPCF), ended his life by hanging from a fan in his hometown Allahabad Saturday.
Posted in the town of Mahoba along the Madhya Pradesh border, Ahmed was on leave at the time of his death. He left a suicide note narrating his harassment by senior officials.
As news of Ahmed’s suicide spread, Chief Minister Mayawati hastily ordered the suspension of the UPPCF managing director, the additional managing director and the general manager (administration).
“Ghayas used to often talk about how he was frustrated about being repeatedly asked by his bosses to shell out a monthly sum of at least Rs.5,000,” Ahmed’s childhood friend told IANS on condition of anonymity.
“The family is under tremendous pressure to not divulge the facts to anyone. They have been warned that if they raise the issue, none of the dependents would be given a government appointment on compassionate grounds. They need money and are not in a position to speak,” he added.
In his suicide note, Ahmed wrote: “Since I joined I was continuously being harassed by the MD, AMD and the GM for money and they also used to threaten they would spoil my Character Role. I had even given Rs.48,000 as a bribe to these officials and this money was arranged by my colleagues who collected donations in the office.
“In the past few days, I was getting calls from the head office demanding Rs.100,000. Failing to arrange this, I am forced to commit suicide,” the note read.
The Samajwadi Party, which distributed copies of the suicide note Saturday, accused the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-led state government of extorting money from government officials ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
“Ahmed joined UPPCF in 2006 when we were in power and he has become a victim of this extortionist government. Like PWD (public works department) engineer Manoj Gupta (of Auraiya), who was killed by a BSP legislator when he refused to shell out money for the chief minister’s birthday celebrations, Ahmed was under pressure to give money to enable the BSP candidate to contest elections,” said Samajwadi Pary leader Shivpal Singh Yadav.
Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav accused Mayawati of being indirectly involved in “extortion” and said that “only a high level judicial probe by a sitting judge can unravel the truth”.
With the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) joining the Samajwadi Party in trying to make the suicide a campaign issue, the state government Monday night ordered a high level probe by the divisional commissioner into the case.
A defensive Cooperatives Minister Swami Prasad Maurya told IANS: “You should appreciate that as soon as the matter was brought to the notice of the chief minister, she ordered the suspension of the officers who were suspected to be involved in the alleged extortion bid.
“Our government believes in zero tolerance over corruption. That is why we have asked the Allahabad divisional commissioner to probe the whole issue and submit a time-bound report,” he added.
Unimpressed by the punitive action against the officials, Shivpal Yadav said: “All that is an eyewash only to save the bigwigs who were actually behind the extortion that earlier led to the gruesome murder of the PWD engineer.”
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Tags: allahabad, bahujan samaj party, bribe, bribes, campaign issue, character role, chief minister, childhood friend, compassionate grounds, cooperative federation, dependents, government appointment, government engineer, madhya pradesh, mahoba, manager administration, public memory, Samajwadi Party, senior officials, suicide note