Springing to the defence of minister Kiran Rijiju, Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s ministry today said payments to a contractor of power plant in Arunachal Pradesh were released even before the minister forwarded a representation for the same.
Dubbing allegation of Rijiju using his influence to clear bills as “unsubstantiated, false and baseless”, the ministry said the vigilance officer S C Verma, who alleged corruption in the construction of two dams for NEEPCO’s 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project in Arunachal Pradesh, had himself authorised release of substantial payments to the contractor.
The Ministry in a statement said Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiran Rijiju had on November 9 last year forwarded a representation of local inhabitants of his constituency, complaining about the stoppage of payments to the sub-contractor of Patel Engineering Ltd for transportation of boulders/sand.
“At no point did Shri Rijiju recommend that payment be released but only requested that ‘kindly get this petition considered in your Ministry sympathetically on priority’,” it said making public the copy of the letter.
But as much as 60 per cent of the payment due to PEL was released on November 4, 2015, on instruction of Verma, much before the letter of Rijiju.
“Hence, the letter written by Hon’ble MoS Home Affairs has no bearing on any payments released by NEEPCO as the payment had already been released before his letter under authorisation of Shri Verma,” the statement said.
NEEPCO, it said, is a Mini Ratna PSU and the government does not interfere in the operational matters of PSUs.
“No instructions or directions by the Government were given to NEEPCO at any time for making any payments. Thus, the allegations made are baseless, totally false and seem to be motivated by the charge-sheet issued against an officer for violation of CVC instructions and service conduct rules,” it said.