Lucknow: Troubles for Uttar Pradesh Minister, Swati Singh, are far from over.
The minister was pulled up by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after an audio clip, in which she is heard threatening a police officer and demanding that the case against a builder be expunged, went viral.
The builder, in whose favor the minister was pressuring the circle officer of Cantt police station, Beenu Singh, to withdraw the cases, is the Ansal group which is already involved in a fraud case.
On September 29, real estate group Ansal API’s vice-chairman Pranav Ansal was detained at Delhi airport while he was about to fly to London, in connection with cases pertaining to criminal breach of trust, cheating, and forgery. Ansal was later brought to Lucknow and sent to jail.
Even though Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on Saturday, initially chided her and then ordered an inquiry into the audio clip. He is believed to have conveyed his displeasure over Swati’s behavior to the party high command and is awaiting their decision.
Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh have seized this opportunity to hit out at the Yogi Adityanath government.
The Samajwadi Party issued a statement saying that the incident showcased the corruption rampant in the Yogi government where a minister is heard openly talking in favor of a tainted builder.
The Congress went a step ahead and demanded the dismissal of Swati Singh from the ministry. Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Kumar Lallu said: “Uttar Pradesh minister is threatening Lucknow Cantt Circle Officer to favor a scamster. She is even heard saying that the chief minister is apprised of the matter and the orders are coming from the top. This explains the kind of government we have in the state. If Yogi Adityanath is genuinely committed to checking corruption, he should dismiss this minister.”
A former BJP leader I. P. Singh, who has now joined the Samajwadi Party, said that such elements were demolishing the BJP’s claim of being a party with a difference. “If police officials are being asked by ministers to work against the law, one can imagine the state of affairs.
Swati Singh, meanwhile, has refused to comment on the episode and even rebuked journalists who approached her for a reaction.
Sources close to her, however, claimed that the audio clip had been edited and was leaked by the police official.
This, incidentally, is not the first time that Swati Singh has made news for the wrong reasons.
After being sworn in as a minister in March 2017, Swati landed in trouble when she inaugurated a beer bar. Women activists slammed her for being the chief guest at the event and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had also pulled her up.
A few weeks later, she again hit the headlines when she was caught on camera distributing hundred rupee notes along with ‘prasad’ at the annual ‘Bada Mangal’ festival.
Swati Singh is the wife of BJP leader Daya Shankar Singh who was expelled from the BJP in July 2016 when he made a derogatory comment against BSP president Mayawati.
To check any erosion of the Thakur votes, the BJP inducted Swati Singh into the party and after she won the elections form Sarojini Nagar seat in 2017, it was made a minister of state.