New Delhi: Responding to graft allegations levelled against him by Manish Sisodia, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma Saturday threatened to file a criminal defamation suit against the deputy chief minister of Delhi and questioned the AAP’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sisodia had in a press conference Saturday afternoon levelled allegations of corruption against the Assam government’s health department, calling into question procurement of PPE kits during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, when Himanta Biswa Sarma was the state health minister.
“Stop sermonising and I will see you soon in Guwahati as you will face criminal defamation,” the chief minister of Assam wrote on Twitter, addressing the deputy chief minister of Delhi, adding that his (Sarma’s) wife’s company donated 1,500 PPE kits to the state government during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sarma also questioned the Aam Aadmi Party government’s handling of the pandemic in Delhi.
“While you Mr Manish Sisodia at that point of time showed a completely different side. You refused my multiple calls to help Assamese people stuck in Delhi. I can never forget one instance when I had to wait 7 days just to get a Assamese covid victim’s body from Delhi’s mortuary,” he wrote on the micro-blogging website.
Responding to Sarma’s clapback, Sisodia then tweeted a picture of the contract naming JCB industries, a company owned by Sarma’s wife, and wrote on Twitter: “Being the state’s health minister, is it not corruption to give a tender purchase order to your wife’s company?”
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What Manish Sisodia said
“I would like to tell BJP leaders that this is corruption and that they should look inwards first,” Manish Sisodia had said while addressing reporters during a press conference Saturday afternoon.
Citing a news report by The Wire and The Cross-Current, Manish Sisodia said when Himanta Biswa Sarma was the health minister of Assam in 2020, government contracts for Covid-19 relief aid were awarded to a company owned by his wife and another company owned by a family friend of the Sarmas.
“Under urgent Covid relief, emergency contracts were given to Sarma’s wife and his son’s business partner to buy PPE kits. His wife’s company has nothing to do with medical equipment, but still a contract was given to her,” Sisodia alleged.
Citing the same news report, the deputy chief minister of Delhi said that Assam government purchased PPE kits at Rs 990 per kit from the company owned by Himanta Biswa Sarma’s wife even though the state’s National Health Mission (NHM) could procure them at Rs 600 per kit.
Sisodia then asked the BJP if it would probe these charges of corruption against Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma. The AAP leader also defended his cabinet colleague Satyendar Jain — Delhi’s health minister who is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
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