Guwahati, Oct 1 (IANS): The opposition leaders in Assam have alleged that the BJP has been unleashing the government machinery against the Congress leaders after they raised the corruption issue of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s family in purchasing land and allegedly receiving the Center's subsidy for setting up an agro-processing industry in the state.
A couple of weeks ago, Ranee Narah, a former Congress MP, was questioned by the Chief Minister’s vigilance cell in a 2017 case of alleged misappropriation of MPLAD funds.
When Ranee Narah was a Union minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet, it was alleged that fund misappropriation for the installation of hand pumps in the Jorhat district occurred in the 2013–14 fiscal year.
Following a CAG report on the irregularities, a report to the Assam Assembly's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) led to the filing of a complaint in 2017 against Narah.
Meanwhile, allegations of land grabbing against the former Lakhimpur MP and her husband, Bharat Narah, also have surfaced.
The Narah couple has also been charged with trespassing on public property when they started a tea farm under the name Ranee Narah.
Recently, the vigilance cell launched a probe against Congress MLA Kamalakshya Dey Purkayastha in connection with the purchase of a tea garden by the legislator six months ago.
The sleuths of the vigilance branch visited the home constituency of the MLA and interrogated a few people.
Purkayastha is a three-time MLA from Assam’s Karimganj district and is also the working president of the Congress party in the state.
He told IANS, “The locals there had requested me to purchase the tea garden. But I did not have enough money to buy it. Later, I purchased the tea garden with the help some of my friends and associates for Rs. 3.20 crore. The land was bought with 100 per cent white money. We have the details of every penny invested.”
Purkayastha, who is an ardent critic of Himanta Biswa Sarma, alleged that he has been targeted for raising the land scam issue of the Chief Minister’s wife on the floors of the state Assembly.
He claimed, “You cannot say anything about the Chief Minister and his family’s corruption issue in Assam; otherwise, you will be targeted by the vigilance cell. This is nothing but an attempt to defame me in public.”
Bharat Narah was also critical of the alleged corruption issue of Himanta Biswa Sarma’s family. He spoke on this matter in the Assembly.
Ranee Narah said, “The vigilance cell called me in an old case. However, I responded to all of the queries of the investigating officers. I am satisfied with it, and I think they were satisfied with my replies, too.”
Talking to IANS, the opposition leader in the Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, said, “Our party leaders have been targeted recently. Some friends of state president Bhupen Borah were transferred recently. Some MLAs are being called for questioning. All of these started after the alleged corruption issue of the Chief Minister’s family was brought into the public domain.”
According to him, this is a pure political vendetta.
“The state government can launch a probe against any individual, but the timing of these inquiries is raising a lot of questions. As the central agencies are used by the BJP in the Centre, in Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma has been using the state government machinery to run a vicious campaign against the Congress leaders,” Saikia alleged.