Uttar Pradesh bureaucrat accused in graft case pleads innocence

September 10th, 2008 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Sep 10 (IANS) A senior bureaucrat in Uttar Pradesh Wednesday flatly denied any involvement in a recruitment scam, in which he has been indicted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) along with two other senior state officials.CBI submitted a charge-sheet before the special CBI court here Tuesday, alleging illegal graft by home secretary Mahesh Gupta in his capacity as director of information and his then additional director Prabhat Kumar Sinha as well as deputy director Raj Gopal Singh Verma, in 1998.

As per the charge-sheet, Gupta is alleged to have received Rs.650,000 as bribes collected from aspirants for various clerical jobs in the department by Verma and handed over to him by Sinha.

However, claiming innocence, Gupta told IANS: “I am not guilty of any irregularity. My only fault is that I was heading the department at that time. Otherwise, I had no role to play in the entire recruitment process.”

Alleging he had been framed by the country’s premier investigating agency, he said: “Even the charge-sheet clearly says who took the illegal gratification. Therefore, it is amply evident that I have been implicated simply because I was the director.”

As many as 86 appointments were made as part of recruitment in the department. After Gupta’s approval, the recruitment file went to then chief minister Kalyan Singh. Kalyan smelt a rat and returned the file with certain queries.

In the meantime, one of the applicants moved the Allahabad High Court, seeking a CBI probe into what he alleged as “serious irregularities in the entire recruitment process”. The court later conceded the applicant’s demand, following which the CBI got into the act.

Asked what course he would take now that the CBI had filed a charge-sheet against him, Gupta said: “Well, I have yet to receive a notice from the court.”

“The charge-sheet was filed in utter violation of laid down rules which prohibit prosecution proceedings against an IAS officer without express permission of the state government under which he is working.”

Significantly, permission for his prosecution was denied both during the earlier Mulayam Singh Yadav regime as well as the present Mayawati government, that posted Gupta in a key slot as state home secretary.

Uttar Pradesh has two home secretaries who function under a principal secretary.

Even as the CBI was busy investigating the three accused officers, they continued to thrive, with successive governments granting them their “due promotions”.

The other accused Prabhat Kumar Sinha belongs to the Provincial Civil Service (PCS) and is currently posted as special secretary in the education department, while Raj Gopal Singh Verma is joint director in the information department.

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