|Himanta key suspect in water supply scam: BJP|
NEW DELHI, July 22 - In a counter attack against the Congress party, the BJP today went all guns blazing against Himanta Biswa Sarma charging that he has emerged as a ‘key suspect’ in the water supply scam of 2010.
On the defensive after the Congress unleashed massive attacks against the BJP in the Parliament, the BJP Parliamentary Board released a booklet ‘Water Supply Scam 2010 in Goa and Guwahati’ at a meeting of party MPs, which was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The functioning of Parliament has been paralysed for the last two days.
Opening a new front against the Congress, the BJP alleged that Sarma, the then very powerful minister of Guwahati Development Department of Assam government, under which the Guwahati Water Supply Project was launched, has emerged as the key suspect surrounding this scam.
Though the American Court didn’t name the Indian minister involved in taking bribe, the time of this scam and department under which it did occur make Himanta Biswa Sarma the prime suspect in this entire scandal, the BJP charged.
The booklet that liberally quotes from the case record of the American Federal Court against the firm Louis Berger, said that two top executives of the firm – Richard Hirsch and James McClung – pleaded guilty for offering bribes to ministers and officials in Assam and Goa.
The BJP said that in the 11-page chargesheet, the US Federal prosecutors alleged that Louis Berger maintained a detailed diary and account of bribery to Indian officials.
The BJP has alleged that while the Goa Chief Minister has already demanded a CBI inquiry, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has chosen to maintain silence over the scam, which involved his once favourite political lieutenant, Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The Guwahati Water Supply Project has created public resentment in the State. Several organisations, intellectuals and people from all sections of the society have demanded a CBI probe into the scam.
The report quotes various news report, including a report carried by The Assam Tribune on July 19.
Meanwhile, later briefing newsmen at 11, Ashoka Road Central office of the BJP, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Sarbananda Sonowal said that the Chief Minister should clarify why he is shirking responsibility.
Sonowal wondered why the Chief Minister is silent on the issue of a CBI probe into the scam. Gogoi should clarify his stand, said Sonowal.
The scam is likely to be raked up by the BJP in a big way, with the party holding a series of meetings with Assam BJP MPs and its State leaders, including BJP State president Siddharta Bhattacharyya.
The BJP State president was present at the party’s central office when Sonowal and Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju briefed the media.
The BJP’s attack comes amid reports of Himanta Biswa Sarma allegedly holding secret parleys with the saffron party.
A State BJP leader said that the charges today has literally put an end to the efforts of BJP to woo Himanta Biswa Sarma, underscoring the need to split the Congress ahead of the Assembly polls.