Lucknow: Former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Neera Yadav, who was Tuesday convicted by a special CBI court and arrested in a corruption case, enjoyed positions of prominence under different governments.
The retired Indian Administrative Service officer was found guilty by a Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ghaziabad of violating rules in allotting an industrial plot in Noida to Flex Industries Ltd. in 1994-95.
CBI Senior Public Prosecutor S. Islam said two corruption cases were registered in 1998 against Neera Yadav and the beneficiaries of out-of-turn allotment of plots.
The cases were registered after the Supreme Court directed the CBI to file criminal cases on a plea filed by the Noida Entrepreneurs Association (NEA).
The CBI filed charges in the two cases in 2002.
After the court hearing Tuesday, Neera Yadav was sent to jail.
It was not just Mulayam Singh Yadav, who chose her for the top slot of state chief secretary in 2005, but also chief ministers of other parties like Bharatiya Janata Party`s Rajnath Singh and Bahujan Samaj Party`s Mayawati who gave her high posts.
Mulayam Singh Yadav had anointed her with the Noida CEO`s position in his earlier stint as chief minister. In the Congress era until the eighties, Neera Yadav held key positions including that of the state`s appointment secretary, who handles the postings and transfers of IAS and state civil service officers.
In 1997, she was voted as one of the "three most corrupt IAS officers" of the state by the UP IAS Association, but she continued to enjoy positions of prominence under different governments.
When she was made appointments secretary, a group of IAS officers formed an action group and went in a delegation to the then chief minister Veer Bahadur Singh to complain against victimization of honest bureaucrats.
She continued to hold key positions with control over ministries like food, agriculture, industries and education.
Her police officer husband Mahendra Singh Yadav turned to politics and became a minister in a BJP regime. When Mulayam Singh made her chief secretary in May 2005, retired IAS officer Dharam Singh Rawat, who was widely known for his anti-corruption crusade, then sat on a `dharna` under the statue of Mahatma Gandhi seeking to know, "how can you appoint such an IAS officer as chief secretary when her tainted record is so blatant that she stands charge-sheeted by an agency no less than CBI for committing gross irregularities in allotment of land in Noida".
Mulayam Singh Yadav had earlier faced much embarrassment following the appointment of another controversial officer Akhand Pratap Singh as chief secretary in 2003. Singh had topped the list of the "three most corrupt" IAS officers. He was forced to step down after his appointment was challenged through a PIL filed by a journalist before the country`s apex court.
Neera Yadav was removed as chief secretary by an order of the Supreme Court in another PIL moved by the same journalist. "It was the first time in the history of the country that the apex court ordered removal of a state chief secretary on charges of corruption," remarked senior IAS officer V.S. Pandey, who had earlier spearheaded the campaign to identify the "three most corrupt IAS officers" in the state.