NH land scam: In flip-flop on CBI probe, Congress finds ammunition against BJPUpdated: May 31, 2017 21:33 IST
Senior Congress leader Shobha Ojha addresses a press conference in Dehradun on Wednesday. Behind her is Congress state president Pritam Singh. (HT Photo)
DEHRADUN: Accusing the NDA government of trying to shield people involved in the multi-crore NH-74 scam, All India Mahila Congress chief Shobha Oza Wednesday said her party would raise the issue both inside and outside Parliament.
Referring to Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s letter to chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat reportedly saying a probe against NHAI officials in connection with the alleged scam will adversely affect their morale, she said it suggests there is “definitely something fishy” about the matter.
“What problem Gandkari has with a CBI inquiry if NHAI officials are innocent? If what he is saying is true, then he should allow the CBI to take up the probe. Whenever a big scam is detected, the BJP removes names of the scamsters from the FIR. We will strongly raise the issue in Parliament and outside it,” Oza said at a press conference here.
Irregularities to the tune of ₹240 crore in the acquisition of land for NH-74 in Udham Singh Nagar district were detected in a report submitted by the Kumaon commissioner earlier this year. Taking cognisance of the report, Rawat, who took over in March, suspended six SDM-rank officials and recommended a CBI probe.
However, even after more than two months, the Centre is yet to order the CBI to investigate the case, which took place between 2011 and 2016.Meanwhile, Gadkari, the Union road transport and highways minister, has written to Rawat asking him to reconsider his decision of a high-level probe into the alleged scam.
Even NHAI chairman YS Mallik wrote to Uttarakhand chief secretary S Ramaswamy on May 26, asking him to re-examine the culpability of NHAI officials in the light of the fact that they appear to have played no role in changing the land use or determination of compensation paid to landowners.
Though Rawat has been insisting that his recommendation for a CBI probe remains unchanged, the Congress has been combative accusing the BJP government at the Centre of shielding the “big fish” involved in the scam.
Oza also accused the Narendra Modi government, which is celebrating its third anniversary, of having failed to fulfil all its promises. She trained guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the promises he had made in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“The people of India are still waiting for the ₹15 lakh to get credited in their accounts. Senior citizens are awaiting the ₹25 lakh pension plan that Modi had promised in 2014. They (BJP) have forgotten the slogan of black money after people voted them to power,” Oza said.
Alleging that debt-ridden farmers are committing suicide all over the country, she said the Centre had still not waived their debts of ₹50,000 crore. “We also want to ask what happened to his (Modi) announcement of giving employment to two crore people?”.
Asked whether the Congress was working on a revival road map in view of its successive electoral defeats, Oza said the party will listen to the people and take a feedback to stage an emphatic comeback.
WITH PTI INPUTS
First Published: May 31, 2017 21:33 IST