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UP removes Jitin Prasada’s OSD, suspends 5 for transfer ‘irregularities’ in his PWD ministry

Committee formed by CM Yogi Adityanath recommended action against 6 PWD officials for ‘serious irregularities' in department transfers.

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Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government has taken action against six officials, including four senior ones, posted in the Public Works Department (PWD) after a committee formed to probe allegations of corruption and anomalies in transfers recommended the same.

After Anil Kumar Pandey, an officer on special duty (OSD) of PWD minister Jitin Prasada on state government deputation, was removed from his post and a vigilance probe recommended against him Monday, five other officials were suspended Tuesday.

These included engineer-in-chief (development) and head of department Manoj Kumar Gupta. The others are engineer-in-chief (project/planning) Rakesh Kumar Saxena, senior staff officer Shailendra Kumar Yadav, administrative officer Pankaj Dixit, and principal assistant (grade-IV) Sanjay Kumar Chaurasia. All of them face disciplinary proceedings.

The action follows alleged anomalies in transfers, which included the transfer of a dead engineer, of one who is said to exist only on paper, and those “transferred” to the same districts they were already posted in.

While the state engineers association has blamed the anomalies on “clerical errors”, the UP government said it initiated action after “taking cognisance of serious irregularities” in consonance with its “zero-tolerance policy” on corruption.

An office memorandum issued by special secretary Arun Prakash, secretariat administration department (section-I), Monday said that Pandey was posted as OSD in the state government on 9 May this year.

Pandey served as under-secretary (consumer affairs) in the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution before being sent to the UP government on deputation.

“Serious complaints have been received against Pandey in connection with the transfers. Hence, Anil Kumar Pandey is being sent back to the Government of India with immediate effect and a vigilance probe and disciplinary action is being recommended against him,” reads the memorandum, a copy of which is with ThePrint.

The committee to probe the alleged irregularities was formed following directions from Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on 12 July, and told to submit its report to the chief minister’s office.

The panel comprised Agriculture Production Commissioner Manoj Kumar Singh and Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture) Devesh Chaturvedi.

On the same day, another committee headed by chief secretary Durga Shankar Mishra was formed to probe serious allegations of irregularities in transfers in the state’s medicine and health department, which included the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi and Additional Chief Secretary (Excise Department) Sanjay Bhoosreddy.

Also read: Yogi’s Uttar Pradesh is worst governed big state, Kerala is best: Bengaluru think tank report

The ‘anomalies’

The alleged irregularities in the PWD that have come to light include a transfer order issued for engineer Ghanshyam Das Kaswal, who died three years ago, official sources said.

Another engineer by the name of Rajkumar posted in Nirman Khand, Etawah, was reportedly posted to Lalitpur, but the sources said it was found that no engineer by that name existed.

A junior engineer by the name of Dharmpal was allegedly transferred to two districts, Mainpuri and Etawah, as was another named Salig Singh, to Badaun and Lucknow.

Several engineers who had been posted in a district or division for anywhere between seven and 18 years were given postings in the same area, the sources added.

Meanwhile, assistant engineer Manoj Kumar Singh was given orders for a new posting in Etawah after serving in Mathura for three months, with the same anomaly also allegedly affecting Santosh Kumar, who sources said was posted to Kanpur Nagar within three months of serving in Hardoi.

Speaking to ThePrint, Ashish Yadav, General Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Engineers Association, said these were all “clerical mistakes”.

Saying that such mistakes were common in the transfer process, Yadav called for the transfer process to be moved online.

“All transfers are effected with the approval of the minister,” said Yadav. “The role of the HOD and engineer-in-chief is limited to the preparation of the list, but the same is released only after the approval of the minister. It is not that only these officials are behind the issuance of the list,” he said.

An earlier version of the report erroneously said the officer on special duty (OSD) of PWD minister Jitin Prasada was “suspended”. He has been removed from his position. The error is regretted.

(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)

Also read: Yogi Adityanath wants ‘CBI-like’ anti-corruption agency in UP, orders new law

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