Assam CM files criminal defamation suit against Manish Sisodia
Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has filed a criminal defamation suit in a court in Assam’s Kamrup district against Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia for accusing the former of malpractices while giving a contract for personal protective equipment (PPE) supply to his wife Riniki Sarma’s company.
Riniki Sarma also last month filed a defamation suit seeking ₹100 in damages from Sisodia in another court in Kamrup, which asked the deputy chief minister to appear before it on July 25.
Debajit Saikia, the chief minister’s lawyer, said his client filed the case over baseless allegations Sisodia made at a press conference in Delhi on June 4. He said Sisodia claimed the chief minister, who was then the state health minister, gave an urgent contract to his firm for the supply of PPE kits at rates higher than the market price. “Sisodia made the allegations without any proof... accused [Himanta Biswa] Sarma of corruption. This suit was filed late on Thursday refuting the allegations and seeking legal action...”
The court has fixed July 22 as the next date of hearing in the chief minister’s case.
Sisodia alleged Himanta Biswa Sarma gave urgent supply orders of PPE kits to the firm in which his wife and son were partners at the rate of ₹990 per piece. He said the state government bought those kits from other companies at ₹600 per piece.
There was no immediate response from Sisodia to the second case.
Riniki Sarma issued a statement last month denying any wrongdoings following a series of reports by news portal thewire.in. She said not a single PPE kit was available in Assam in March 2020 and she reached out to a business acquaintance and delivered around 1,500 kits “with a lot of effort”. “I did not take a single penny out of this supply. I have always been transparent in my belief of giving back to society irrespective of my husband’s political standing,” the statement said.