A prison riot in Varanasi is being ascribed to widespread corruption by Prisons Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia.

A senior jail official was brutally attacked and another was held hostage. The severe violence also left more than a dozen people injured on Saturday and Monday, said an official.

A high-level probe led by Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) SK Srivastava is investigating the matter. The state government has asked the inquiry to be completed and a report submitted within a fortnight.

The government has also asked the officer to identify the culprits, both from among prison inmates and jail officials; to identify the reason behind violence severe enough to leave over a dozen people injured.

Two senior district jail officials have already been transferred out of Varanasi following the riot, and 18 prisoners identified as culprits shifted to other jails in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The probe hopes to nail others, among the officers and inmates, if any.

During his inspection of Varanasi jail, the Prisons Minister had pointed out that prima facie the rioting seemed to be result of "widespread corruption".