Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma’s wife Riniki Bhuiyan Sharma has filed a Rs 100-crore defamation case against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who alleged that she awarded contracts for PPEs at prices higher than the market price.
Bhuyan Sharma filed the suit before the civil judge of Kamrup Metropolitan District on Tuesday (June 21) and is expected to hear it on Wednesday. Bhuyan’s lawyer Padmadhar Nayak gave this information.
Another MLA Kishor Dutta said that Sisodia, while addressing a press conference in New Delhi on June 4, had made “some allegations, which hurt the honor and dignity of Rinikki Bhuyan Sharma”.
He said, “Sisodia even dragged the name of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma into the controversy without any reason. That’s why we have filed a defamation claim.
It is known that on June 4, Manish Sisodia, referring to a news report in the media (a joint report of ‘The Wire’ and ‘The Cross Current’), had told reporters that on the one hand, the Assam government had collected Rs 600 from other companies. On the other hand, he had placed orders for immediate supply of PPE kits for Rs 990 to the companies of his wife and son’s business partners.
He had alleged that Sharma’s wife’s firm does not even do business of medical equipment. Sisodia was quoted as saying by the news, “Though the contract awarded to the firm of Sharma’s wife was cancelled, as the company could not supply the PPE kits, another supply order was placed on the company belonging to the business partners of their son.” 1,680 per kit was given at the rate of Rs.
He had said, ‘This is a big scam done by the Chief Minister of Assam and his close associates. This is a case of corruption and the ED is behind (Satyendra) Jain, who is working hard to provide quality healthcare to the residents of Delhi.
He had alleged, “Business partners of Sharma’s son also got lucrative orders for supply of PPE kits at the rate of Rs 990 per kit.” Agile Associates, a company owned by a business partner of Sharma’s wife, got an order for 10,000 PPE kits at Rs 2,205 per kit.
Sisodia had alleged, “Despite the incomplete supply of the order, these close associates of the Sharma family got orders for supply of PPE kits at the rate of Rs 1,680 per kit in excess.”
However, on June 4, the Assam government had denied allegations that the family of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma was involved in alleged misconduct in the supply of PPE kits during the pandemic.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and current Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma had also rubbished these allegations and threatened to file a criminal defamation case against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
On the other hand, opposition Congress, CPI, CPI(M), CPI-ML-Liberation, RCPI, TMC, Raijor Dal, Asom Jatiya Parishad and Anchalik Gana Morcha have demanded a CBI probe into the alleged corruption.
A joint report by ‘The Wire’ and Guwahati-based ‘The Cross Current’ published on June 1 states that the Assam government has ordered four emergency medical supplies related to COVID-19 without following the due process of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma. Three firms owned by business associates of wife and their family.
Importantly, JCB Industries, which is owned by Sharma’s wife Riniki Bhuyan Sharma, had received an urgent supply order from the state health ministry when her husband Himanta Biswa Sharma was the health minister.
This company had no history of supply or production of medical equipment and safety gear. The Guwahati-based firm is known to produce sanitary napkins but was given an urgent work order to supply 5,000 PPE kits.
This order to deliver the PPE kits was given to JCB Industries on March 18, 2020, a few days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the nationwide lockdown on the night of March 24, 2020, due to the increasing outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government of Assam, like most other states, placed an ‘immediate supply order’ to stock up on protective gear (such as PPE kits) and COVID-19 testing kits in the immediate aftermath of the Prime Minister’s sudden lockdown order. .
However, an RTI reply to the state’s National Health Mission (NHM) shows that the then Sharma-led health department had given ‘immediate supplies’ to not only his wife’s firm but also two companies – GRD Pharmaceuticals and Meditime Healthcare – before the lockdown. ‘ which is owned by his family’s business associate Ghanshyam Dhanuka.
Ghanshyam’s father Ashok Dhanuka is a director of RBS Realtors (now Vashist Realtors), in which Himanta Biswa Sharma’s son Nandil Biswa Sharma is currently the majority shareholder.
(with input from news agency language)
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Categories: north east, politics, special