Accusing the Modi government of trying to shield prominent people involved in the multi-crore NH-74 scam, the Congress’ women’s wing chief Shobha Oza today said her party would raise this issue both inside and out of Parliament. Referring to Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s letter to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat reportedly saying a probe against NHAI officials in connection with the alleged scam will adversely affect their morale, she said it suggests there is “definitely something fishy” about the matter.
“Whenever a big scam is detected, the BJP removes names of scamsters from the FIR. We will strongly raise the issue in Parliament and outside it,” Oza said at a press conference here. Major irregularities running into Rs 240 crore in the acquisition of land for National Highway 74 in Udham Singh Nagar district were detected in a report submitted by the Kumaon Commissioner earlier this year.
Taking cognisance of the report, newly elected Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who took over in March this year, suspended several SDM-level officials who were suspected of having played a role in the scam and recommended a CBI probe into it. However, even after more than two months, the Centre is yet to order the CBI to investigate the case, which took place between 2011 and 2016.
Meanwhile, Gadkari, the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister has also written to the chief minister asking him to reconsider his decision for a high-level probe into the alleged scam. Even NHAI Chairman Y S Mallik wrote to Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S Ramaswamy on May 26 asking him to re-examine the culpability of NHAI officials in connection with the scam in the light of the fact that they appear to have played no role in changing the land use or determination of compensation paid to the landowners.
Though Rawat has been insisting that his recommendation for a CBI probe into the scam remains unchanged, the Congress has been combative on the issue accusing the BJP government at the Centre of shielding the “big fish” involved in the scam.
Oza also accused the Narendra Modi government, which is celebrating its third anniversary, of having failed to fulfil all its promises. Alleging that debt-ridden farmers are committing suicide all over the country, she said the Centre had still not waived their debts of Rs 50,000 crore. “We also want to ask what happened to his (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) announcement of giving employment to two crore people?” Oza asked.
Asked whether the Congress was working on a revival road map in view of its successive electoral defeats, she said the party will listen to people and take a feedback from them to stage an emphatic comeback.