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UP police detain man who alleged CM Adityanath’s principal secretary sought bribe

In a letter to governor Ram Naik, Abhishek Gupta alleged that principal secretary SP Goel was demanding a bribe of Rs 25 lakh to provide land for road widening to set up a petrol pump in Hardoi.

lucknow Updated: Jun 08, 2018 16:53 IST
Rohit K Singh
Rohit K Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Yogi Adityanath,Uttar Pradesh,SP Goel
Abhishek Gupta has 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 23-year-old man was detained by the police ahead of his press conference at Lucknow’s Press Club after he accused a senior Uttar Pradesh government official of demanding a bribe of Rs 25 lakh in lieu of land needed to set up a petrol pump.

Lucknow’s senior superintendent of police Deepak Kumar confirmed Abhishek Gupta has been taken into custody for interrogation for “defaming the state government and levelling false allegations against principal secretary SP Goel”.

Kumar said the city police is trying to find the facts into the matter.

Police booked Gupta for cheating and filed a first information report at Hazratganj police station on Thursday night.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath ordered a probe asking for the “factual position” in the allegation against the principal secretary. Adityanath also asked chief secretary Rajive Kumar to apprise him of the facts related to the allegations.

The controversy surfaced on Thursday night when a letter written by Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik to Adityanath informing about Gupta’s complaint against Goel became was shared on social media.

“Mr Gupta says that the principal secretary to chief minister, SP Goel, is demanding Rs 25 lakh to provide land for broadening of the main road and he is not able to set up the petrol pump due to delay in the decision on the representation. 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 a letter dated April 18, 2018, on email, that he proposed to set up petrol pump sanctioned by Essar Oil Limited in Resso village of Sandila tehsil, Hardoi,” the governor wrote.

“As the main road to connect the petrol pump is narrow, a representation given to provide necessary land is pending at the level of principal secretary to chief minister,” he said.

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

Goel, who was appointed the principal secretary to the chief minister after Adityanath formed his government, rubbished the allegations.

“This is ridiculous. I received the file only after the governor’s letter was received. I recused myself, did not deal with the case and informed the chief minister about the same,” the 1989 batch Indian Administratie Service (IAS) officer said.

“I am not aware of any decision taken on the issue,” Goel, who has worked at the Centre and in the state government, maintains a low profile and has so far remained non-controversial, added.

An official spokesperson refused to comment on the issue.

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

First Published: Jun 08, 2018 14:29 IST