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Congress demands dropping of Rijiju

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 Dec 2016 12:00 AM GMT

From Our Correspondent

Itagar, Dec 13: The Congress in Aruchal Pradesh has demanded the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for immediate dropping of union minister Kiren Rijiju from the council of ministers for his alleged involvement in the Rs 450 crore scam in 600 MW Kameng Hydro-Electric Project (HEP) being executed by the North East Electrical Power Corporation (NEEPCO) in the state.

The chief vigilance officer (CVO) of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) has accused several high-profile mes including Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, his cousin Goboi Rijiju, a contractor and some top officials of the PSU of corruption in the construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project. CVO Satish Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, had sent a 129-page report in July to CBI, CVC and Ministry of Power in this regard. The report alleged an “elaborate conspiracy” by contractors, NEEPCO authorities and the West Kameng district administration to defraud the government and the PSU of funds that may extend up to Rs 450 crore, according to a report published in a tiol daily. Reacting to the report, the Aruchal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) today demanded a CBI enquiry into the alleged contract irregularities and to issue White Paper on the alleged scandal amounting to Rs.450 crores for public knowledge.

“Rijiju’s involvement in the scam has tarnished the image of India,” former chief minister bam Tuki said. Apprehending that the scam would have cascading negative impact particularly on Aruchal Pradesh as the project is in Aruchal West parliamentary constituency, Tuki demanded an independent judicial probe headed by a sitting Supreme Court judge to clear Aruchal’s me.

“Aruchal boasts of NE India’s largest hydropower 405-MW Rangadi HEP and 600-MW Kameng HEP, scheduled for commissioning in 2012 would have added another feather in state’s cap but because of Rijiju and his close relative got delayed for four years. Rijiju has been talking too big all these days but his true colour has been exposed now and his voters would judge him in right perspective now, Tuki added.

Former Lok Sabha member and senior Congress leader from Aruchal Takam Sanjoy demanded Rijiju’s voluntary resigtion on moral ground for selling out the trust and verdict of his voters. “Giving baseless denial in media and terming the episode as politically motivated, will not save Rijiju as the 129-page report of central vigilance officer (CVO) Satish Verma clearly vindicates the charge against Rijiju and his cousin Goboi Rijiju,” Sanjoy said.

“Gobi had inflated all rates in the bills, quoted scooter, motorcycle and unidentified truck numbers in transporting materials including sand and chip,” Sanjoy alleged. “The matter has been discussed by Union Power Minister Piyush Goel and the CVO as the report also quoted Goboi lobbying with the CVO for giving clearance for early payment of the bill in exchange of his promotion to be taken up by Rijiju, which proves the junior home minister’s clear involvement,” Sanjoy claimed. Supporting the demand of Tuki for an independent judicial probe by a SC judge, Sanjoy said as the CBI comes under union home ministry; the probe has to be independent. APCC President Padi Richo also demanded immediate dropping of tainted Rijiju, a CBI probe into all irregularities, a white paper on the alleged scam.

Richo told media person in party office here that the 129-page report has med Rijiju, Goboi, a sub-contractors of the project, several top NEEPCO officers including its CMD and was sent to the CBI, CVC and the Ministry of Power in July last, alleging an “elaborate conspiracy” involving contractors, NEEPCO officials and West Kameng district administration to defraud NEEPCO and the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore.” Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, was pulled up by NEEPCO for “uuthorised absence,” and transferred to the CRPF in Tripura soon after his report. He attributes the “absence” to his investigation, he claimed.

Verma’s report claimed several fake and inflated bills by contractors to allegedly siphon off money in the me of transporting rocks for dam construction. Not only was the transportation cost decided arbitrarily, but many transport challans and records provided by the contractor, Patel Engineering Limited (PEL), were found to be fake, Richo alleged.

“The NEEPCO project, which is nearing completion, includes two dams over Bichom and Tenga rivers. Work had started in 2005 after the tender for civil work at Bichom Dam, Tenga Dam and a powerhouse at Kimi were all bagged by Mumbai-based PEL,” Richo added.

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