Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday vowed to file a criminal defamation case against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia for his alleged remark that the Assam government had given contracts to his wife’s firms and son’s business partner to supply PPE kits above market rates when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging in the country in 2020.
Taking to twitter CM Sarma wrote, ”Stop sermonising. I will see you in Guwahati as you (Sisodia) will face criminal defamation.”
In another tweet, he stated that during the peak of the Covid Pandemic Assam hardly had any PPE kits. He went on to state that this was the reason why his wife donated 1,500 PPE kits to the state government without charging even a single penny.
The chief minister also attached a letter of appreciation from the then National Health Mission director Dr. Lakshmanan for providing the PPE kits as corporate social responsibility during COVID-19 by JCB Industries, of which Sarma’s wife Rinki Sarma Bhuyan is a partner.
It is to be mentioned that, Sisodia in a tweet had attached the supply order of 5000 kits at the rate of Rs 990 from NHM to JCB Industries on March 18, 2020. The Delhi Deputy CM referring to media reports at a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday, said that while the Assam government procured PPE kits for Rs 600 a piece from other companies, Sarma gave urgent supply orders to the firms of his wife and son’s business partners for Rs 990 a piece “taking advantage of the emergency situation.”
Taking on Sisodia, the Assam chief minister said that although the NHM issued the order, the company had raised no bill and the kits were gifted to the government.
“Not a single penny was transacted, where is the corruption?” he tweeted. ”Due to acute shortage then, every government, including yours (Delhi government) waived the tender for PPE kit and went for direct purchase. Don’t cherry-pick from half the documents. Have the courage to put (forward) all the facts. Don’t show half of a document trail, have the courage to put all the facts”, he wrote.
Sarma also accused Sisodia of refusing to take his calls to help Assamese people in Delhi when COVID was raging. “I cannot forget one instance when I had to wait for seven days to get an Assamese COVID victim’s body from Delhi’s mortuary …. Many phone calls went unanswered though we know each other very well”.
While you Mr Manish Sisodia at that point of time showed a completely different side. You refused my multiple calls to help Assamese people stuck in Delhi. I can never forget one instance when I had to wait 7 days just to get a Assamese covid victim’s body from Delhi’s mortuary.
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) June 4, 2022
Earlier in the day, Assam government spokesperson Pijush Hazarika refuted all charges that Sarma’s family was involved in the alleged malpractices in the supply of PPE kits during the pandemic.
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