Rajeswar terms suspension of 4 in book controversy ''unjustified''

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Lucknow, Feb 1 (UNI) Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeswar has come to the rescue of four officials, including two senior bureaucrats, suspended yesterday for their role in the publication of a book which allegedly projected the Gandhi clan and Congress for its work done in the Sultanpur district, terming the move ''unjustified''.

Sources told UNI that the Chief Minister's office has reportedly received a strongly-worded letter about the suspensions with the Governor calling the move ''unjustified.'' Officials at the Chief Minister's office, however, denied knowledge of any such letter from Raj Bhawan.

With the sending of the letter, the political battle between the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress is set to intensity.

The UP government yesterday suspended four officials, including two senior bureaucrats, for their role in publishing a souvenier which projected the role of Congress and the Gandhi clan in the development of Sultanpur district.

The official release issued here, however, did not name either the Congress or the Gandhi family.

The IAS officers suspended include Faizabad divisional commissioner Venkeshwara Lo and Sultanpur district magistrate Sanjay Kumar. The two had issued signed messages for the book 'Sultanpur: Kal aur Aaj' (Sultanpur: Yesterday and Today).

The others suspended are assistant director of information Pramod Kumar Singh and then chief development officer (currently posted as special secretary Social Welfare) Ishtdev Prasad Rai.

The release said the book, authored by regional publicity officer Dr Srikant Srivastava, highlights the role of a particular political party and the family leading the party.

Meanwhile, UP Congress chief spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh claimed that while the Mayawati government has failed to digest the role of Congress leaders in the development of UP, it has suspended four officials out of 'frustration'.

''How can anyone refute the contributions of the Gandhi family and Congress in the development of not only Sultanpur or UP but the entire country,'' he said.

Sultanpur had been the political 'karma bhoomi' of the Gandhi family with Rahul representing Amethi (a part of the district) in Lok Sabha. The official release maintained that the book, while projecting a particular party, ignored the efforts of the BSP government in the development work of the district.

The Divisional Commissioner was quoted as writing in his message that the book was ''an important piece of work and the people will get to know the history and culture of the district.'' The DM, Sultanpur, on the other hand, had claimed that the book was being published by collecting information through various means,'' it added.

The government also claimed that the book was published and distributed in the district by the particular political party.

''By helping in publication of the book, the officials have been prima facie found guilty of violating the service rules,'' the release added.

The action against the four officials came after senior government officials informed Chief Minister Mayawati about the contents of the book.


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