New Delhi, (IANS) The BJP on Wednesday released a sting video concerning Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat and demanded his resignation over “liquor scam” worth hundreds of crores and “loot” carried out during the 2013 floods.
Hitting back at the Congress, which is demanding three BJP ministers’ resignations over favouring ex-IPL chief and Vyapam scam issues, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also raised the issue of a charge sheet filed against Congress leader and former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister P.K. Thungon over a 1998 corruption case.
Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a press conference here alleged the Uttarakhand chief minister and his personal secretary “were involved in a liquor scam and loot during the Uttarakhand floods”.
“We have a video proof which shows involvement of the Uttarakhand CM and his powerful close confidante in the scam,” she said.
In the video, Rawat’s personal secretary Mohammad Shahid is allegedly asking for bribes from liquor barons.
“Private agencies chosen by Chief Minister Rawat and Shahid were brought on board and passed liquor to retail agencies,” Sitharaman said. That scam was worth several hundred crores, she added.
“The chief minister’s personal secretary negotiates with these people, saying how much are you giving now and the payment would be made in Delhi or Dehradun – 25 percent now, 75 percent later.”
“Mohammad Shahid himself is seen in this sting talking to middlemen about how much would be given to him,” she added.
The Congress, however, said the Uttarkhand government had acted swiftly following the allegations and an FIR was being registered.
Congress spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi said the Uttarakhand government has decided to conduct a civil and criminal investigation and it will be completed in 60 days.
“The official has been relieved from the post. A decision has been taken to take voice samples,” Gogoi said.
Asked if Rawat should resign as the issue concerned his office, Gogoi said the chief minister was extremely serious on the issue and aspersions should not be cast on him.
Rawat denied all the charges and called it a political stunt of the BJP.
“First verify the authenticity of the CD. There is a well established lottery system for liquor license distributions. There is no private person involved in it,” Rawat said in a press conference in Dehradun.
BJP leaders Kiren Rijiju and spokesperson Sambit Patra in another press conference at the party’s head office in New Delhi on Wednesday said that Congress leader Thungon had been convicted in a corruption case.
“Thungon has been convicted in a corruption case after 17 years. There is a need for the Congress to take responsibility and introspect,” Rijiju told reporters.
Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge Ajay Kumar Jain on Monday convicted Thungon, and three others in the corruption case. The order was made public on Tuesday.
The Delhi court also remanded them in judicial custody.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “The skeletons of corruption of yesteryear have been tumbling out of the closet of the Congress.”
“Such is the extent of corruption of the Congress that the era of (then prime minister) Indira Gandhi is over but corruption cases of those times are still existing,” Patra said.
The Congress is seeking resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje over their links with former IPL chief Lalit Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over Vyapam scam.