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SIT must bring arbitration and NH officials into its probe ambit: Harish Rawat

SIT has minimised the ambit of the probe, said Harish Rawat.

dehradun Updated: Feb 25, 2018 22:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Rudrapur
National Highway Authority of India,Harish Rawat,Uttarakhand news
Former chief minister and Congress leader Harish Rawat with tribal artists. (PTI)

The Special Investigative Team (SIT) of the Uttarakhand Police probing Rs 300-crore NH-74 scam should include arbitration and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials into its ambit, former chief minister Harish Rawat said Sunday.

“I don’t want to comment on the SIT because our government had constituted it to probe into the scam. The SIT has, however, minimized the ambit of the probe by excluding arbitration and the NH officials. Arbitration and NH officials are also responsible for the scam,” Rawat said.

The senior Congress leader said that the SIT has till date interrogated and sent to jail several lower level officials and farmers. He asked why were some political leaders, IAS officials, and the NHAI staff spared by the SIT. The former CM, however, didn’t name any political leader, bureaucrat or NH official.

It may be recalled that soon after taking charges as chief minister in 2017, Trivendra Singh Rawat, had suspended six state-level officials and recommended a CBI probe. However, Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari had advised against the CBI probe saying it would have an adverse impact on the morale of NHAI officials.

Rawat’s reaction comes days after the SIT questioned him former Congress state president Kishore Upadhyay. The irregularities pertaining to awarding compensation for land acquired for NH-74 had taken place when Rawat was CM and Upadhayay was at the helm of the state Congress unit.

The SIT questioned Upadhyay about a bank account that the Congress had opened in December 2016, months ahead of the 2017 assembly polls. It has been alleged that some farmers, who got exorbitant compensation for their agricultural lands at commercial rates, deposited a part of the money into the Congress’s bank account and that the money was used for campaigning. Both the charges have been denied by Upadhyay who has claimed that the account was opened in compliance with an Election Commission directive.

Meanwhile, Rawat also demanded BJP to disclose the list of donors from whom it claims to have collected more than Rs 25 crore for party.

First Published: Feb 25, 2018 22:11 IST