Even 24 hours after the district chief medical officer of Gonda was allegedly abducted and kept in confinement by a minister of the Samajwadi Party government, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav continued to remain silent on the issue.
Even top officials of his government were tightlipped on the issue, though many believe that action against the minister would send a strong message about the intentions of the SP government, which has begun to earn the reputation of going soft on rogue elements in the party.
Significantly, the accused Minister of State for Revenue and Rehabilitation Vinod Kumar Singh, who is also popularly known as Pandit Singh, was busy claiming innocence in the matter.
"I am being targeted only for political reasons. I have not indulged in anything of that sort. All those allegations are a pack of lies," he told reporters.
Gonda CMO Dr S P Singh too has gone underground after telling media personnel that his life was under threat.
According to reports, the minister had barged into the CMO's home on Wednesday night and dragged him to the CMO office, where he tried forcing him to change the list of names approved for appointment as Ayurvedic doctors on contract under the National Rural Health Mission.
While the CMO had accommodated four of the 16 doctors recommended by the minister, he expressed his inability to make all appointments in accordance with the minister's wishes. This angered the minister, who incidentally is facing a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation for his alleged involvement in a multi-crore food scam during his earlier stint as minister under the last Samajwadi Party regime.
Even though state Health Minister Ahmad Hasan had admitted the seriousness of the matter and had promised to initiate action on behalf of the government, there is complete stalemate on the issue.
The government's passivity came to the fore when state Home Secretary Kamal Saxena told media personnel, "Since the CMO has proceeded on leave without making a formal complaint and we are unable to contact him, the government is not in a position to initiate any action in the matter."
He added, "Any comprehensive action will be possible only after the concerned official makes a formal complaint."
While the CMO remained untraceable, his son Dr Shailendra Singh expressed his concern about what may happen to his father.
"We are really worried as two CMOs have already been murdered in broad daylight during the previous regime. We want protection for him," he told reporters.