The Uttar Pradesh government has suspended a senior IAS officer for allegedly “delaying” the sanction of funds for an all-weather swimming pool in Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s village in Saifai, western U.P.

The State Sports Director Shailesh Kumar Singh was accused of causing a “two-month delay” in releasing funds for a state-of-the-art pool worth Rs. 200 crore, being built as part of a sporting complex for an annual carnival. He was suspended with immediate effect for “laxity” and “irregularity” in carrying out his duty. He also did not follow administrative procedure in many instances, it is alleged.

“He did not wait for the State’s approval before taking a decision regarding a construction agency in a central purchase scheme,” said a government source. “Mr. Singh could not provide an explanation for his actions. He did not pay heed to repeated directives from the government.”

Mr. Singh (59) was due to retire next month.

The annual carnival is organised every year in December/ January to showcase the cultural heritage of Saifai, the village of SP supremo Mulayam Singh. The festivities, which will conclude on January 8, will include sports and entertainment activities.

The Bharatiya Janata Party lashed out at SP and termed the suspension a “political conspiracy.” Its spokesperson Chandra Mohan said “the State is faltering on all grounds of development, with a pathetic sports infrastructure. But the Akhilesh Yadav government is investing all its manpower and funds on the Saifai mahotsav.”

The entire administrative machinery of Kanpur division is invested in the carnival, he pointed out.