A babu, who doubles up as a baba (self-styled godman), has managed to make the authorities bend over backwards to keep him posted in his 'comfort zone'.
Known as Upadhyayaji (his name is R K Upadhayaya) in his department and Shakshi Ram Kripalji Maharaj to his followers, this senior transport official has not only been given a promotion but the authorities allegedly created a special post for him so that he remained posted in the place of his choice.
According to reports, two years ago Upadhayaya had foregone promotion to avoid being transferred to Lucknow from the NCR. But now he had his say--promotion as well as posting of choice.
Upadhayaya, 58, is often seen delivering sermons on devotional TV channels, telling people how they can transform their life through self-realisation. He also organises workshops all over the country, giving tips on how one can lead a stress-free life.
But his citadel is irrefutably the NCR and the places around it. In Ghaziabad, he has a well-established 'ashram' where his followers come from various parts of the state to seek his blessings. He is also said to have an ashram in Haridwar, Uttarkhand.
Little wonder, Upadhyaya has spent most of his career by serving in western UP, including Ghaziabad, where he remained posted as a regional transport officer (RTO) for long. He had also been posted as zonal deputy transport commissioner, Meerut, for around four years.
But in the meantime, the government held an over-due departmental promotion committee (DPC) meeting following which Upadhyaya was promoted to the post of additional transport commissioner (TC). This required him to move to the headquarters in Lucknow, which alone has the posts of additional TC.
But not willing to leave NCR, he gave a representation to the state government seeking to forego his promotion. His request, according to sources, was turned down in the first instance but later he was allowed to surrender the transfer allegedly following intervention from the top.
The then transport commissioner, who was apparently not happy with Upadhyaya's output as an official and his ways as a godman, pulled out all the stops to get him to Lucknow, but in vain.
On being transferred, Upadhyaya expressed his inability to join the headquarters because of illness (he gives tips to his followers on how to remain fit without taking medicine). The government set up a medical board to examine his sickness. The board's opinion came in the godman's favour.
Upadhyaya's refusal to accept promotion was blocking the promotion of his juniors. So, instead of making the godman fall in line, the government created three new posts of additional TCs -- one each for western, eastern and central zones. Upadhyaya was given charge of western UP (at Meerut), and the promotion too. For the first time, posts of additional TC at Lucknow were scrapped.
However, giving a different explanation for this, principal secretary, transport, Kumar Arvind Deo Singh said: "It is not true that we changed the transport department's structure to accommodate Upadhyaya. In fact, the government has created three new posts of additional commissioners based on a proposal from the transport commissioner's office that said doing so would help government get more revenue."
"As for giving promotion to Upadhyaya, who had earlier forgone the same, we held the departmental promotion committee meeting again, wherein his case was reconsidered and this time he agreed to the promotion," Singh said.
"And far as the question of his insistence on remaining posted in Meerut only is concerned, we can only say that he may be having some personal problems and there is no point in discussing the same," Singh added.
Upadhyaya could not be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.
But speaking about Upadhyaya, an official said: "One feels mesmerised while talking to him."
"While preaching at his ashram or on TV, he does not ask you to renounce life or change your routine. Instead, he teaches that the only aim of life should be to live in a way that leads to self-realisation and the path shown by him is Sci-D'vine," claims an official and admirer.