The ongoing stiff stand-off between the Opposition and government led to the adjournment of Lok Sabha till Thursday. The lower house witnessed a heated exchange on the issue of demonetisation and allegations against MoS Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju leading to a brief adjournment at 11:04 AM, which followed an adjournment for the day soon after it had reassembled at noon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress party President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, among others were present in the House.
Early today, there were reports of amity between the two sides giving rise to speculations of debate in the house. But as soon as the house met, members from Congress, TMC and Left parties took to the protest raising issues relating to demonetisation and the controversy involving Rijiju.
Some MPs from the ruling party too resorted to protest as Opposition members took to the Well of the house.
The issue of demonetisation has led to a stalemate between the two sides with lack of consensus on the terms to take up the discussion. With lower house seeing repeated disruptions through the session thus far, both the Opposition and treasury have blamed each other over the impasse.
Another issue raised by the Opposition on Wednesday was the controversy relating to MoS Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju.
Congress party has demanded Rijiju’s removal after a newspaper report on Tuesday 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.
It also alleged that controversy had links with destabilising the previous Congress-run Nabam Tuki government in the state.
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.
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, the CVO in his report, which was sent to the CBI, CVC and the Ministry of Power in July this year, claimed an “elaborate conspiracy” to defraud the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore.”
The report also alleged Goboi Rijiju, who is one of the sub-contractors in the project, tried to influence the CVO through name dropping Kiren Rijiju and calling him his “brother”. An audio recording of a purported conversation Verma had with Goboi Rijiju on December 29, 2015 was also annexed in the CVO report.
Strongly refuting with the allegations, Kiren Rijiju has denied having any relation with Goboi Rijiju. The minister has also dubbed the news report as false and far from facts.
However, 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.
(With inputs from the PTI)