Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had arbitrarily given away the coveted "Yash Bharti" awards to 53 persons, in contravention to the laid down rules for selection of awardees, according to an RTI response.
As per the information given by the state Culture Department, in response to an RTI poser by activist Nutan Thakur, the "Screening Committee" had recommended 54 names for the award at its October 20, 2016 meeting. The names were forwarded to then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav by Culture Minister Aruna Kumari Kori.
Yadav, however, dropped the name of Shamimuddin of Agra for Zardozi art without stating any reason and added 23 new names. Of these, four names were written by hand, in completely arbitrary manner without any basis or recommendation, revealed the RTI response.
Similarly, the Samajwadi Party (SP) chief added 12 new names including a "handwritten" inclusion of a certain Shadab Ruwaidi. This was followed by addition of 11 new names, including that of IAS Suhas L.Y. on November 29, 2016, and seven names on December 19, 2016.
"This is a classic example of misuse of authority by public functionaries," the petitioner told IANS on Wednesday.
Yash Bharti is the highest award by the government of Uttar Pradesh and was instituted in 1994 by then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav for eminent personalities in the fields of literature, social work, medicine, film, science, journalism, handicrafts, culture, education, music, drama, sports, industry and astrology.
It carries a citation and a cash award of Rs 11 lakh and a Rs 50,000 pension per month.
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