Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Sunday asked officials to set up a team to verify documents that helped government teachers across the state get their jobs, an order apparently triggered by the curious case of Anamika Shukla.
The Special Task Force (STF) of the state police was also recently asked to probe the case in which several lakh rupees have been withdrawn from multiple schools as salary in the name of just one teacher -- Anamika Shukla.
On Sunday, police reported two more arrests, in Aligarh and Mainpuri districts, of teachers allegedly impersonating her even as Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took another swipe at the state government over the case.
Adityanath asked officials to constitute a dedicated team to verify the documents of teachers appointed in schools under the departments of secondary education, higher education, basic education, social welfare and at the Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalayas.
"Stringent action should be initiated against the defaulters," a statement quoted the chief minister as saying at a meeting at his home.
Special Task Force Inspector General Amitabh Yash said an STF probe was ordered into the Anamika Shukla case three days back.
"The STF is probing the larger conspiracy. We are trying to identify culprits. Arrests are likely very soon," he told PTI on Sunday.
Other STF officials said the probe is underway in Allahabad, Aligarh, Raebareli, Saharanpur, Kasganj and Ambedkar Nagar districts.
They said junior departmental staff appeared to be involved in the scam.
One Anamika Shukla resigned in Kasganj earlier this month but was arrested.
In Gonda, another Anamika Shukla appeared before the authorities pleading innocence and claiming that her educational documents appeared to have been used by tricksters.
She had passed the state's qualifying test and had applied for a job in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya in Gonda. But she was not been able to join the school due to some personal reasons.
On Saturday, she was appointed as an assistant teacher on an ad hoc basis by a state-aided private school.
UP Minister of State for Basic Education Satish Dwived has said the investigation so far revealed that the same set of documents were used to draw Rs 12.24 lakh from nine schools.
Initial reports mentioned a figure of over Rs 1 crore drawn over 13 months across several schools.
The minister said the documents were used at Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas in Baghpat, Varanasi, Kasganj, Amethi, Aligarh, Raebareli, Allahabad, Saharanpur and Ambedkar Nagar.
The latest arrests took place in Mainpuri and Aligarh, police said on Sunday.
Two women impersonating themselves as "Anamika Shukla" and working as teachers at Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas were arrested. They had allegedly procured fake documents.
In the Aligarh case, the woman also admitted that she paid bribe of Rs 3 lakh, police said.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday took a swipe at the state government for claiming it had "zero tolerance" to corruption.
"So many big frauds are happening in the Education Department. Did the minister of the department not know about it? Did the chief minister's office also have no clue about it?" Priyanka Gandhi said.
"Surprisingly, those who talk about zero tolerance are tolerating corruption by the big fish," she tweeted in Hindi.