NH-74 scam: Grilled by SIT, Kishore Upadhyay sore at no support from Congress leaders

The SIT had on February 21 grilled Upadhyay over a bank account that Congress had opened in December 2016

dehradun Updated: Feb 24, 2018 21:01 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
NH-74 scam,NH scam,Kishore Upadhyay
Former Uttarakhand Congress president Kishore Upadhyay in Dehradun.(HT file)

The Congress leaders may have spoken in one voice against the ruling BJP after a Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the Rs 300-crore NH-74 scam, questioned Kishore Upadhyay, but that has failed to appease the former party chief.

Upadhyay is reportedly upset with senior party leaders for not standing by his side when the SIT came knocking at his door.

“My concern is when the party did not stand by my side, then how can it safeguard party workers,” Upadhyay asked party’s former state in-charge Ambika Soni, a source close to the former PCC chief said. Upadhyay also talked to several other leaders at All India Congress Committee (AICC) expressing his displeasure.

A senior party leader, however, put blamed Upadhyay for having “sidelined himself” from the ongoing verbal duel between Congress and BJP.

“It is a matter of the party and let it deal with it,” Upadhyay said curtly Saturday when reached out for comments.

The SIT had on February 21 grilled Upadhyay over a bank account that Congress had opened in December 2016. It has been alleged that some farmers, who got exorbitant compensation for their agricultural lands at commercial rates during acquisition for NH-74, deposited a part of the money into the Congress’s bank account.

Upadhyay had planned a press conference on Saturday, but it was called off following intervention of former chief minister Harish Rawat. Sources in the party said that Rawat, tp present a united face of Congress, wants to interact with media along with sitting PCC chief Pritam Singh and Upadhyay.

Rawat had earlier said that the SIT should give prior notice before investigating the party account. He also pointed fingers at BJP saying that the ruling party also needs to give details of funds collected in the name of donation.

Pritam Singh too claimed that the details of the party’s bank account were crystal clear and the party was ready even for a CBI inquiry.

Despite such claims, Congress leaders, sources in the party said, were worried about the investigation. “The senior leaders are nervous,” a party leader said.

Rawat, however, claimed that there’s “nothing that we have to hide”. “The bank details are clear and most of the transactions were electronic. We have never said no to any investigation,” he said.

Soon after taking charge as chi3ef minister last year, Trivendra Singh Rawat had suspended six state-level officers and recommended a CBI probe into the scam. After Union minister red flagged the CBI probe saying it would have an adverse impact on NHAI officials, the state government formed the SIT to investigate the matter. The SIT has already questioned more than 150 people, including farmers.

First Published: Feb 24, 2018 21:01 IST