UP cop names SP leader in bribery case, shifted

The Akhilesh Yadav government on Wednesday removed Gonda SP Navneet Kumar Rana, who had claimed that Samajwadi Party leader K C Pandey had offered him a bribe to allow illegal trafficking of cattle through his district.

Rana has been attached with the DGP, Headquarters. Home Secretary Kamal Saxena refused to give any reason for his transfer.

Last week, the government had appointed Pandey, who is SP national secretary, as vice-chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Council of Sugarcane Research, with the status of minister of state. The next day, it came to light that the police had lodged a case against Pandey in December last year, after he allegedly made a call to Rana, asking him to let a cattle smuggler operate in the district in return for a regular monthly bribe.

Pandey denied the allegation, but sources said Rana had taped his call and reported the matter to his seniors. Officials said the matter was being investigated.

The case dates back to December 29 last year, when the Gonda police seized a truck carrying 50 oxen and arrested three persons. The next day, a person identified as Ashutosh Pandey, along with three associates, Ibrahim Khan, Firoz Khan and Saghir Ahmed, reportedly asked the SP to release the truck and tried to bribe him.

Ashutosh Pandey also reportedly made Rana talk to a man, who claimed to be K C Pandey, on the phone. This man offered him a regular monthly bribe to allow illegal trafficking of cattle through the district.

Rana made audio and video recordings of the incident. In the audio, K C Pandey is heard telling Rana that he is the SP national secretary.

Ashutosh Pandey and his three associates were arrested on the charge of attempting to bribe a public servant.

The recordings are part of the records of the case lodged at the City Kotwali police station of Gonda, said a police official.

When contacted, Rana today said he was not aware of the reason behind his transfer. He added that he had taken action on the basis of evidence. He said K C Pandey has been charged with criminal conspiracy under Section 120-B of IPC for sheltering the cattle smuggling racket.

The investigating officer had sent a letter to Chiluatal police station, which is the local police station of K C Pandey's native place in Gorakhpur district, seeking help for his arrest. The letter was received at the Chiluatal police station on January 18, said Rana, adding that K C Pandey is still a wanted in the case.

HC seeks govt reply

Hearing a petition challenging the appointment of SP secretary K C Pandey as vice chairman of the UP Council of Sugarcane Research, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to file a reply within two weeks regarding the criteria for making such appointments.

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