Under attack over the alleged power projects scam in Arunachal Pradesh, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday rejected allegations of wrongdoing, saying people should not waste their time on it and that it should not be taken seriously.
"Is it a crime to write letter? It's my duty to help people and it cannot be called as corruption. I don't understand why people are taking it seriously. Do not waste your time in this issue," he told News Nation.
Earlier on Tuesday, Rijiju 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 that he had written a letter to Power Minister Piyush Goyal seeking early clearance of bills related to a hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh.
Rijiju, who is the Minister of State for Home, said he had written the letter to Goyal as 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.
Congress, AAP demand Rijiju’s removal
Congress has alleged that M Rijiju's role in "450-crore scam"in Arunachal is under cloud and has demanded his removal till independent probe is conducted.
The party also said that PM Narendra Modi’s claim of transparency is now under question and that people are watching what action he takes in 'Arunachal scam'.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also demanded Rijiju’s resignation.
Now Congress must apologise to the Nation. All Contract works & payments were made during Congress regime. I just forwarded a memorandum. https://t.co/2gOFKQIaju— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) December 13, 2016
Really cheap! This is the copy of representation I received & forwarding letter to Power Minister. Is it a corruption helping poor Tribals? pic.twitter.com/lwQXthQsNI— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) December 13, 2016
What’s the alleged scam?
The reports claimed that Rijiju, his cousin, a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju, and several top officials of the state-run NEEPCO, including its Chairman and Managing Director, have been named in a 129-page report by the PSU’s Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma that alleges corruption in construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.
NEEPC comes under the Union Power Ministry.
Verma’s report was sent to the CBI, CVC and the Ministry of Power in July this year. It alleges an “elaborate conspiracy” involving contractors, NEEPCO officials and the West Kameng district administration to defraud NEEPCO and the government of funds that “may extend up to Rs 450 crore”.
West Kameng, the site of the project, falls in Arunachal West which is the parliamentary constituency of Rijiju.
The CBI has made two “surprise checks” but no FIR has been registered yet, reports said.
Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma, a Gujarat IPS officer, was pulled up by NEEPCO for “unauthorised absence,” and transferred to the CRPF in Tripura soon after his report.
Verma was also part of the three-member SIT set up to probe the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat in 2004 when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister.
Verma had said Ishrat’s killing was a “premeditated murder”.
(With inputs from agencies)