Gorakhpur DM Rautela: Yogi’s controversial blue-eyed boy
Hand-picked by UP CM Yogi Adityanath, Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela is in the eye of a storm after media was kicked out of the counting centre during counting for the Lok Sabha bypoll
Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela triggered outrage after he barred journalists—who were equipped with special Election Commission passes—from entering the centre where counting was in progress on March 14 for the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypoll. Rautela, who was the Returning Officer for the bypoll, also stopped officials from giving updates to the media.
As soon as voting trends after the first two rounds of counting started favouring the Samajwadi Party candidate over that of the ruling BJP, media personnel were made to stay at least 15 feet away from the counting area and the counting booth was screened off with curtains. However, following political outrage and protest by the scribes, the media regained access after some time.
Considered close to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Rautela was handpicked by the latter and appointed as District Magistrate of his home district, Gorakhpur. Rautela is said to have been instrumental in withdrawal of cases filed against Adityanath and 12 others at Gorakhpur’s Pipiganj Police Station on May 27, 1995.
This is not the first time that the 2002 batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, is in the news for wrong reasons.
In December, 2017, Allahabad High Court had ordered Rautela’s suspension over illegal mining. He was accused of promoting illegal mining during his tenure as District Magistrate in Rampur and defying High Court orders. However, Chief Minister Yogi refused to act against him.
When Rautela was District Magistrate of Aligarh in September 2013, he had shocked the country with his insensitive remarks on soldiers, who lay down their lives in the line of duty, and on their family members.
"India is a land of mourners," he had said and had added that after every soldier died, their family members invariably demanded compensation by way of petrol pumps.”
In August 2017, after becoming DM of Gorakhpur. Rautela had submitted a controversial inquiry report on the death of infants in the BRD Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur, ostensibly due to lack of oxygen. He had then told the media that the death of 20 children on a single day in a medical college was ‘normal’ and there was nothing unusual about it. He had also courted controversy by claiming initially that the children had not died due to unavailability of oxygen.