The impact of the Rs 35,000 crore money laundering scam, which is currently being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and in which businessman Hasan Ali is facing serious charges, is now being witnessed in Uttar Pradesh.
Chief Minister Mayawati on Saturday gave marching orders to her principal secretary (information) Vijay Shankar Pandey for his alleged nexus with Amlendu Pande, who was already under the Enforcement Directorate scanner for his connections with Hasan Ali.
A powerful IAS officer of the 1979 batch, Pandey was also divested of the additional appointments of principal secretary (secretariat administration) and the state's food and drug authority. He has been moved to the insignificant position of a member in the board of revenue.
In his recorded statement before enforcement authorities, Amalendu Pande had clearly spelt out his contacts and communication with Vijay Shankar Pande, who had otherwise earned the image of an anti-corruption crusader for spearheading the much-publicised campaign to identify the three most corrupt IAS officers in Uttar Pradesh, some 14 years ago.
Making an anouncement about the senior bureaucrat's exit from the chief minister's set up, state cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told a press conference in Lucknow on Saturday evening, "Whatever Vijay Shankar Pandey had done was in his personal capacity; it has nothing whatsoever to do either with the UP government or with the chief minister."
He sought to clarify, "Pandey was not a part of the chief minister's personal secretariat. Currently, he was only associated with the chief minister's set-up in his capacity as principal secretary (information). As far as his interaction or communication with the Enforcement Directorate is concerned, that was purely in his personal capacity. Therefore in case he faces any liability on that account, he would have to undertake that in his personal capacity."
Significantly, not very long Pandey had got a complaint filed against the present Enforcement Director Arun Mathur on behalf of the India Rejuvenation Initiative, a voluntary anti-corruption forum formed by activists drawn from the judiciary, buraucracy, police, scientists and representatives of the civil society.
Pandey, who was among the 18 founders of the organisation, had initiated the complaint raising questions about the Enforcement Director's integrity. Pandey declined to make any comment on the developments .