UP officer threatens suicide in protest against harassment

Govt says it can't let whistleblower quit as he faces enquiry panel

Senior Uttar Pradesh official Hari Shanker Pandey, who had submitted his resignation in protest against harassment by senior officers for allegedly exposing corruption, threatened on Tuesday to commit suicide if his harassment continued.

“I am being harassed for exposing corruption and those, who were involved in corrupt practices, were being shielded,” Pandey alleged.

The officer’s outburst came after a team of revenue officials arrived at his residence on Tuesday morning to paste a notice asking him to present himself before the inquiry committee set up against him.

No to retirement

The state government has claimed that Pandey sought voluntary retirement, and has rejected his request saying that voluntary retirement could not be given when an inquiry was in progress.

The official said he was inside the house when the revenue team reached there.

“They could have served the notice to me personally. This is nothing but harassment. I am not running anywhere,” he said, threatening to kill himself if his alleged harassment continued.

Pandey, a senior provincial civil services officer, had exposed large scale corruption in the rural engineering department and had also pointed at the involvement of a senior officer, who incidentally was the head of the department, in the malpractices.

During his tenure as special secretary in the rural engineering department, Pandey had shot off a series of letters to his superiors drawing their attention to the misuse of funds amounting to Rs 1,400 crore  in the department during 2007 and 2012.

CAG findings

His contention was also supported by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which had opined that only one fourth of the works had been undertaken by the rural engineering department during the said time period.

Pandey’s superiors, instead of acting on his letters, had transferred him to an insignificant national integration department and also issued a chargesheet against him for what they termed ‘indiscipline’ and ‘exceeding’ his brief.

Social support

Social activist Nutan Thakur has accused the state government of harassing the whistleblower.

“It is unfortunate that officers charged with serious corruption charges are being saved while the whistleblower officer is being hounded,” she said, demanding that chief minister Akhilesh Yadav should intervene in the matter. 

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