Thursday, December 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India




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UP minister sacked
Faces charges of harbouring criminals

Lucknow, December 12
In a swift move to project a clean image of his ministry, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh today sacked Minister of State for Institutional Finance and Trade Taxes Amar Mani Tripathi following allegations that he was patronising criminals.

However, denying the charges of harbouring criminals, Mr Tripathi told UNI from Gorakhpur that he was still unable to understand the reason behind his dismissal, saying that he had heard about it only from the media.

But Mr Rajnath Singh, speaking to newsmen today, justified his action and said there was enough evidence of Mr Tripathi’s criminal links.

The Chief Minister had already sent a letter in this connection to Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri, at present in Mumbai, to remove the Loktrantrik Congress Party (LCP) MLA from the Council of Ministers, official sources said.

The decision to sack Mr Tripathi was taken after the criminals involved in an abduction case "revealed" that the Lucknow house they were staying in had allegedly been provided by Mr Tripathi.

The Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh police arrested five criminals from a house in the cantonment area of the state Capital early this morning — the first day of a special drive to weed out criminals — for kidnapping Rahul, 15-year-old son of a businessman from Basti. Rahul was also recovered from the criminals.

One of the abductors is believed to be in Siddharth Nagar and efforts were on to arrest him, the police said.

According to STF officials, the kidnappers had taken refuge at the residence of a businessman Rajesh Aggarwal, who was shot dead by criminals recently. The criminals said the hideout was arranged by Mr Tripathi. Mr Manoj Aggarwal, brother of the slain businessman, also admitted that he had allowed the accused to stay in the house on the demand of the sacked minister.

Rahul, too, revealed that the criminals had used the name of the minister in their conversations while on way to Lucknow from Basti.

Meanwhile, Mr Rajnath Singh, who in his tenure of over one year so far has sacked three influential ministers, including Power Minister Naresh Aggarwal and Tourism Minister Ashok Yadav, told newsmen his government was committed to providing a “clean look” administration.

He warned that nobody would be spared if found guilty of criminal activities or harbouring criminals. “We had information of his (Mr Tripathi’s) criminal activities much earlier but the action was taken only after obtaining documentary proof”, he said.

When asked about the likely fallout of his action at a time when the elections were round the corner, Mr Rajnath Singh categorically stated that his resolve to clean the administration would go down well with the masses.” It is the good intention of the government which counts”, he added. UNIBack

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