Rijiju denies graft charges, Cong demands his ouster

RSTV Bureau

Congress-Ghulam-Nabi-Azad-n-Kharge

Congress party has demanded the removal of Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju after a newspaper report claimed his role in an alleged irregularity in Arunachal Pradesh hydropower project. Demanding a thorough probe, the principal opposition party also claimed to have an audio proof to back its allegations against Rijiju.

It also alleged that controversy had links with destabilising the previous Congress-run Nabam Tuki government in the state.

“Prime Miniter Modi’s claim of transparency is now under question… People are watching what action he takes in Arunachal scam,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

According to the news report published in the national daily ‘The Indian Express’, MoS Home Kiren Rijiju, his cousin Goboi Rijiju, a contractor by profession based in Arunachal Pradesh, and several top officials of the state-run NEEPCO, including its Chairman and Managing Director, have been named in a report by the Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma flagging irregularities and fraud.

 

The news report cited the CVO report alleging corruption in the construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh, which is the home state of MoS Kiren Rijiju.

The CVO in his report, which was sent to the CBI, CVC and the Ministry of Power in July this year, alleged an “elaborate conspiracy” to defraud the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore.”

The report also alleged Rijiju’s cousin Goboi, who is one of the sub-contractors in the project, tried to influence the CVO seeking the release of funds. An audio recording of a purported conversation Verma had with Goboi Rijiju on December 29, 2015 was also annexed in the CVO report.

Playing the purported audio recording, Congress party alleged misuse of position by Kiren Rijiju and demanded his immediate ouster.

File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

Under attack over the controversy, Rijiju rejected the allegations of wrongdoing and said those who have “planted” the story against him “will be beaten up with shoes”.

Jo news plant kar rahe hain wo hamare yehan ayyenge to joota khayenge (Those who planted the story will be beaten up with shoes when they will come to our area),” the Tawang MP told reporters reacting to media reports.

Defending the allegations that he had written a letter to Power Minister Piyush Goyal seeking early clearance of bills related to the hydroelectric project, he said, it was his duty as an MP to take action on representations given by his constituents.

“I have written the letter to the Power Minister after I received presentations from some people in my constituency in Arunachal West regarding pending bills. I have done no wrong and there is no corruption,” Rijiju said.

(With inputs from the PTI)