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Mayavati rush to plug leaks

Lucknow, Sept. 4: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati has decided to bottle up her administration, rattled by leaks about a World Bank letter threatening stoppage of funds and an official note-sheet showing that she herself had approved 50 per cent reservation in sports institutions.

“I have asked the chief secretary to inquire into leak of government documents to the press and stern action would be taken against the officials found involved,” Mayavati said at a press conference today.

Documents referred to by the newspapers —and shown on a TV news channel — have cast a cloud on her public stand to the contrary.

Mayavati suspects a set of bureaucrats to be behind the exposure. This means more heads would roll following the suspension of the state’s principal secretary (sports), Harishchandra, and transfer of a secretary in the chief minister’s office over a controversial order on reservations in sports institutions.

“Copies of the letter from the World Bank threatening stoppage of fund flow were available only with the chief secretary, the principal secretary, the agricultural production commissioner and two senior officials in the Government of India,” she said.

In the same breath, she gave a clean chit to the chief secretary and her principal secretary and added that the leak “must have been from Lucknow”.

The leak about the World Bank’s letter two days back had caught Mayavati on the wrong foot because she had told the Assembly no such missive existed.

News reports indicated that Mayavati had approved the reservations in sports institutions. But when she was forced to withdraw the order following opposition from the state BJP and the Union sports minister, she claimed she was not consulted.

After the leaks, Mayavati conceded that the principal secretary (sports), Harishchandra, had submitted a proposal for reservations in sports institutions and she had approved it. But she found fault with the procedure adopted by him.

Mayavati said Harishchandra had not placed all the facts before her. “He put up the proposal in a new file and obtained my approval but withheld another file containing rejection of a similar proposal by the preceding BJP government twice in the past,” she said. The chief minister had no answer when it was pointed out that she had reversed several decisions of the preceding government.

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