Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma slaps defamation suit against Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia

Soon after Sisodia’s allegations on June 4, Sarma took to Twitter and wrote, “Stop sermonising and I will see you soon in Guwahati as you will face criminal defamation.”

Himanta Biswa Sarma. (File image)

A month after Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his wife of corruption during the latter’s tenure as Assam’s Health Minister, Sarma on Friday filed a civil defamation suit against Sisodia. Soon after Sisodia’s allegations on June 4, Sarma took to Twitter and wrote, “Stop sermonising and I will see you soon in Guwahati as you will face criminal defamation.” Earlier, Sarma’s wife Riniki Bhuyan Sharma had filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Delhi’s Deputy CM.

While raising questions on the AAP government’s handling of the pandemic, Sarma added, “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 an Assamese Covid victim’s body from Delhi’s mortuary.”

Following the arrest of Delhi minister Satyendar Jain, Sisodia had stepped up the ante against BJP over corruption charges as he alleged that Sarma gave government contracts of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to the firms of his wife and son’s business partners, while pointing out several financial irregularities.

“Himanta Biswa Sarma awarded the contract to his wife’s company. He paid Rs 990 for the PPE kits while others were purchased at Rs 600 a piece from another company on the same day. This is a huge crime,” Sisodia said, adding that he had evidence to back his claim. “Will the BJP have courage to take action against its own leader or will it keep hounding us with made-up cases?” he said.

Sisodia’s allegations were based on an investigative report by a media house. Sarma’s wife Riniki Bhuyan Sharma said the claims made in the news report were “unfounded.”

“I did not take a single penny out of this supply. I have always been transparent about my belief in giving back to society, irrespective of my husband’s political standing. My organisation has also supported the NHM in the fight against COVID by donating to the Aarogya Nidhi,” read her statement.

The report, while citing replies to several Right to Information (RTI) queries, pointed out that the supply of the emergency medical kits were given to four firms without floating any tenders. Out of these four, three firms were linked to Sarma’s family and business associates. Sarma was the Health minister of Assam at that time.

Sisodia’s allegations came following the arrest of Satyendar Jain in connection with a 2015 Hawala case. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the charges fake and claimed that the central agency was acting at the directions of the Modi government ahead of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls. Calling it an act of political vendetta, Kejriwal stated that he has information from credible sources that Sisodia was next in line to get arrested

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