Cpurt raps entrepreneur for levelling and then withdrawing bribery charges against UP govt officials

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Lucknow, Jun 27 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court has reprimanded an entrepreneur for first levelling and then withdrawing bribery charges against two senior Uttar Pradesh government officials.

Entrepreneur Abhishek Gupta had alleged that the then principal secretary S P Goel (now additional chief secretary) and the then special secretary Subhrant Shukla to the UP chief minister were demanding Rs 25 lakh as bribe in a land conversion matter for establishing a petrol pump in Hardoi.

'We have to record our displeasure on the manner in which the petitioner has attributed serious allegations against Goel and Shukla, who are senior government officers, holding important posts,' the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court said.

It strongly deprecated the practice and reprimanded the entrepreneur for such conduct and warned him to be more careful in future while approaching the court.

A bench of Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh passed the order on a writ petition filed by Gupta, taking up the matter through video-conferencing.

Also considering the plea of Goel and Shukla's lawyer V K Shahi that the alleged mala-fides attributed to the two top officers of the Yogi Adityanath government were not substantiated with any facts, the bench said, 'It is unfortunate that such serious allegations are made against senior officers of the government and when the petitioner has been called upon to support his allegations, he has stated that he does not want to press these allegations and they may be treated as unconditionally withdrawn.' The bench, however, allowed the petition directing the state authorities to exchange the land in question on a certain consideration amount. It also set aside the orders of the state government issued on June 8, 2018, and April 1, 2019, whereby it had rejected the claim of the petitioner seeking to exchange the land on Hardoi-- Sandila--Lucknow state highway, now being developed as the national highway.

Challenging the state government's orders in 2019, the petitioner had levelled serious allegations of demanding a bribe of Rs 25 lakh on Goel and Shukla for permitting the exchange of land.

However, he appeared in the court on June 24, 2021, and unconditionally withdrew the allegations and pressed that he only wanted his legal issue to be decided. PTI Corr NAV AQS AQS

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