Almost a week after IANS first reported a vigilance probe by the Uttar Pradesh government against a senior IAS officer, accused of amassing huge wealth disproportionate to his income, the department’s Principal Secretary has written to the Chief Secretary to move the official to another post till the probe is over.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary dated November 6, Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry, BL Meena said: “I want to make you aware that a vigilance probe is pending against Satyendra Kumar Singh, currently posted as Secretary in the Animal Husbandry Department.

“Since all the works of the Animal Husbandry Department is carried under the guidance of the Chief Minister, which are very important and sensible, thus I request you that till the time the vigilance probe is pending against Secretary, Animal Husbandry, he should be transferred to any other department on the same post.”

However, when IANS tried to connect with Meena, he did not respond to calls and messages.

On November 1, IANS reported that Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has initiated a vigilance probe against a senior IAS officer accused of amassing huge wealth disproportionate to his income, apart from having ‘benami’ properties in Noida, Greater Noida and Lucknow, among other places.

According to a source, the probe was launched against S.K. Singh after Special Secretary R.P. Singh issued order for the probe on October 1. As per the source, the probe was ordered following two complaints received against S.K Singh from an advocate of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on August 6 and August 19.

The complaints, which were received by the Chief Minister’s Office, were forwarded to the Inspector General of Police of the state Vigilance Department for probe. The order issued by R.P. Singh has asked for time-bound completion of the probe.

The source said that the investigation into the case is being handled by an official of the Vigilance Department having the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police.

The lawyer in his complaints has alleged that S.K. Singh, during his tenure as the General Manager of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), had amassed “huge benami wealth” on the names of his family members and others. He had also been District Magistrate of Banda, Chandauli and Farrukhabad and also served as the Vice-Chairman of Meerut Development Authority and the Moradabad Development Authority.

Quoting from the complaint, the source had said: “S.K. Singh allegedly owns properties worth crores of rupees in Lucknow’s upscale Gomti Nagar area, apart from having houses and shops in Noida, industrial plots in Greater Noida, land in Sonebhadra, and benami properties in Lucknow, Kanpur, Noida, Fatehpur, Sonebhadra and Mirzapur districts.”

The lawyer has also alleged that S.K. Singh appointed a journalist as the caretaker of his properties in Kanpur, while a woman named Shalini Gupta was the caretaker of his properties in Lucknow. S.K. Singh, who reportedly turned into a witness in the NRHM scam case, escaped punitive action against him by the court.

As per the complaint, Income Tax authorities had also searched S.K. Singh’s multiple properties in a raid on May 24, 2017. The source also said that the complainant has shared the property documents belonging to S.K. Singh as well as the details of his bank statements with the state government.

When contacted by IANS, S.K. Singh, however, said that he has no knowledge of any pending probe against him.

“I am hearing about this from you only. I am an informant in over 400 cases pertaining to illicit and illegal arms. In some of these cases, sanctions for prosecution had also been issued by the Governor of Uttar Pradesh on charges of sedition.

“So, many criminals are naturally involved in these cases. Perhaps someone has complained against me after being aggrieved by my actions in these cases,” he said.

Acting strictly on the policy of “zero tolerance”, the Yogi Adityanath government on July 3 this year warned over 400 corrupt officials of severe punishment and decided to give early retirement to around 200 employees, according to state government officials.