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Rajesh Kumar Singh, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, June 18, 2014
Rattled by the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, the SP government on Tuesday removed principal secretary (home) Deepak Singhal within a fortnight of his appointment to the post. But what has raised eyebrows is that the officer replacing Singhal – commissioner (social welfare) Rakesh Bahadur -- is just as controversial.

The frequent reshuffling of top home department officers and appointment of controversial ones has raised questions about the state government’s commitment to improve law and order.

During the previous SP regime from 2003-07, Bahadur was chairman of the Noida Development Authority but when the BSP came to power in 2007, it suspended and charge-sheeted him.

A CBI probe was also ordered into the ‘irregular’ allotment of plots to 14 hotels, including 3-star, 4-star and 5-star varieties during Bahadur’s tenure as chairman. Though the BSP government cancelled the allotments, the Supreme Court upheld them with some riders.

In May 2012, the SP government reappointed Bahadur as chairman of the Noida authority. But the Allahabad high court on November 8 directed the state to remove him from the post. The court directed the state government not to appoint Bahadur in west UP at all as he might try to influence the investigation into the land scam.

Singhal got into a controversy for his phone conversation with then SP leader Amar Singh when the party was in power from 2003-07. In the conversation, the tapes of which were made public, the duo talked about sugar deals and SEZ tenders. Social activist Nutan Thakur had handed over the tapes chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday.