Liquor deal row: BJP urges governor to oust chief minister

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2015 17:05 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday urged governor KK Paul to dismiss chief minister Harish Rawat and recommend for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into his former secretary’s alleged liquor deal with a mafia.

The Rawat government had recently ordered a principal secretary-level inquiry against the IAS officer Mohammad Shahid, who was divested of almost all the key positions including that of secretary to the chief minister after he was caught on camera allegedly fixing a deal with a liquor trader for awarding wholesale license in state.

He has been recalled to Delhi to join his earlier assignment at the Union ministry of water resource.

The BJP organised a protest in the city and criticised the Rawat government for allegedly harassing a local journalist, Ashok Pande, who shot the CD of the sting operation involving the CM’s former secretary.

A portion of under-construction commercial complex owned by Pande in the city’s Tagore Villa area was demolished by a team of officials, a day after the local authorities marked the portion as illegal.

The BJP though has been insisting that officials have demolished Pande’s house.

“We strongly condemn the officials demolishing the house of a member of the media who is being harassed for doing his duty,” state BJP chief Tirath Singh Rawat said, accusing the CM of being behind the demolition.

He alleged the house owned by state Congress president Kishore Upadhyaya here was also illegal.

“Why isn’t the chief minister getting the illegal house of his party’s state president demolished?” Singh said, adding if the BJP’s demand for a CBI probe was not acceded to, the party would move the Supreme Court.

“We will not only move the apex court but will also take up the issue with President Pranab Mukherjee and Union home minister Rajnath Singh,” the state BJP chief told HT.

The BJP pooh-poohed the Congress’ allegation that the opposition party favouring Pande had clearly established that it (BJP) was behind the sting operation.

“The chief minister should have immediately relieved his former secretary after he was recalled by the Centre,” Singh said. “But he (chief minister) is not allowing that as he fears that the official would spill the beans”, he alleged.
Ajay Bhatt, the BJP’s leader of opposition in the assembly, said the issue now was not whether the saffron party was behind the sting operation or not.

“The issue now revolves around the authenticity of the CD. That is why we are demanding that the chief minister recommend a CBI inquiry against his former secretary,” he said.

He warned that if the governor would not accept the BJP’s demand for a CBI inquiry, they would organise a statewide agitation against the state government.

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