Businessman retracts corruption charge against Yogi’s principal secretary after 8 hours in police custody | india news | Hindustan Times
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Businessman retracts corruption charge against Yogi’s principal secretary after 8 hours in police custody

A video shared by UP government showed the businessman Abhishek Gupta explaining that he had made the bribery allegations against Yogi Adityanath’s principal secretary after ‘losing his mental balance’

india Updated: Jun 08, 2018 22:13 IST
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Abhishek Gupta had earlier alleged that a senior Uttar Pradesh government official demanded a bribe of Rs 25 lakh from him in lieu of land needed to set up a petrol pump.
Abhishek Gupta had earlier alleged that a senior Uttar Pradesh government official demanded a bribe of Rs 25 lakh from him in lieu of land needed to set up a petrol pump. (ANI Photo)

A businessman who had accused Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s principal secretary SP Goel of demanding a bribe retracted his statement after spending eight hours in police detention late on Friday.

A video shared by senior state government officials with media showed 22-year-old Abhishek Gupta explaining that he had made the allegations against Goel upon “losing his mental balance” after a representation to the government was rejected.

Gupta was detained by the police from his Indira Nagar residence earlier in the day, after he accused the principal secretary of demanding a Rs 25-lakh bribe to release land for a petrol pump he was setting up in Hardoi district. In the video, the businessman said he had targeted Goel because a delay in clearing a plea for widening the road to his petrol pump had put him in a deep financial crisis.

Earlier, Lucknow senior superintendent of police Deepak Kumar confirmed that Gupta had been detained for questioning after state BJP headquarters office in-charge Bharat Dixit filed a complaint accusing him of “misusing the names of senior party leaders”.

According to Kumar, the detainee was dropping the names of senior BJP office-bearers to pressurise officials of the chief minister’s office into releasing the land. He was accused of “defaming the state government and levelling false allegations” against Goel.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered a probe by chief secretary Rajive Kumar to “identify the facts” in the case.

The controversy surfaced on Thursday night, when a letter written by Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik to Adityanath on Gupta’s complaint cropped up on the social media. “Mr Gupta says that the principal secretary to chief minister, SP Goel, is demanding Rs 25 lakh to provide land for broadening the main road and he is not able to set up the petrol pump due to delay in the decision. I am sending Mr Abhishek Gupta’s letter to you for appropriate action,” Naik said in his letter dated April 30, 2018, which the Hindustan Times has seen.

“Mr Abhishek Gupta, a resident of 24, Prakash Lok, Indira Nagar, Lucknow, has informed me through an email dated April 18, 2018, that he proposed to set up a petrol pump sanctioned by Essar Oil Limited at Resso village in Sandila tehsil, Hardoi,” the letter further stated. “As the main road connecting the petrol pump is narrow, a representation for additional land is pending at the level of principal secretary to the chief minister.”

When contacted, Naik confirmed that he had sent the letter to the chief minister.

Goel, who was appointed as principal secretary to the chief minister soon after Adityanath took over, rubbished the allegations. “This is ridiculous. I received the file only after the governor’s letter arrived. I recused myself because I did not want to deal with the case. I have informed the chief minister about this,” the 1989-batch Indian Administrative Service officer said, adding that he is unaware of any decision taken on the issue.

The controversy comes at a time when the chief minister is cracking down on corruption in the state. Adityanath had suspended the district magistrates of Fatehpur and Gonda on Thursday over alleged irregularities in purchase and distribution of food grains.