Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has tried to distance himself from the allegations of corruption against him
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has tried to distance himself from the allegations of corruption against him. On Tuesday, The Indian Express reported that the MoS has been named in a vigilance probe that alleged corruption in an Arunachal Pradesh hydro-electricity project.
In a 129-page report, Satish Verma, chief vigilance officer (CVO) of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), has accused several high-profile names including Kiren Rijiju, his cousin Goboi Rijiju, a sub-contractor, and some top officials of the PSU for corruption in the construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project. This is one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh in West Kameng, which is the minister’s parliamentary constituency.
The report also included an audiotape of the conversation between Verma and Goboi, in which the latter allegedly tried to convince the official to clear payments to construction firm Patel Engineering Limited (PEL) by invoking the minister’s name as his “bhaiya”. Rijiju was also accused of writing a letter to the Ministry of Power to release funds to the PEL.
Kiren Rijiju tried to distance himself from Goboi, saying the latter was a “distant cousin”, a member of his clan from the same village. The minister said his letter to Ministry of Power was only for helping the “poor local people” who were working on the project under the aegis of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO).
However, IE reports that the there could be more between Kiren and Goboi than a “distant relationship”. In the 29-minute audio tape of the purported conversation between Goboi and Verma, the sub-contractor can be heard referring to the minister as “Bhaiya” 17 times to push his case for payment to PEL.
According to Goboi Rijiju’s statement in the audiotape, people referred as “daily wagers” for whom the minister wrote a letter for payment of their dues worth “a few thousand of rupees” are actually contractors who have anywhere between Rs 30 lakh to Rs 1 crore pending with PEL.
One of the many people who signed a petition in November 2015, following with Kiren Rijiju wrote a letter to the Power Ministry, was Anil Hagam. Rijiju identified the signatories as the members of gram panchayat. However, Hagam’s name figures in the report prepared by Verma as one of the key sub-contractors along with Goboi.