Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday levelled corruption charges on Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and alleged that he gave contracts to supply the state government with personel protective equipment (PPE) kits to companies related to his wife and son in 2020 above market rates when he was the state health minister.
Sisodia said that while the Assam government procured PPE kits for Rs 600 a piece from other companies, Sarma gave urgent supply orders to the companies of his wife and son's business partners for Rs 990 a piece "taking advantage of the Covid-19 emergency".
The company belonging to Sarma's wife does not even deal in medical equipment, said Sisodia, who was citing a report published by The Wire and Assam-based The Cross Current on Wednesday.
Sisodiya further said, "While the contract given to the firm of Sarma's wife was cancelled as the company could not supply PPE kits, another supply order was given to the firm belonging to the business partners of his son at a rate of Rs 1,680 per kit."
Meanwhile, CM Sarma threatened to file criminal defamation case against Sisodia for making these claims. He said his wife provided 1,500 kits free of cost and he added that every government at the time waived tender requirements because of the urgency of the situation, including AAP's Delhi government.
In a series of tweets, Sarma accused Sisodia of not cooperating during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said, "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 a Assamese covid victim’s body from Delhi’s mortuary."
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 a Assamese covid victim’s body from Delhi’s mortuary.— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) June 4, 2022
In his press conference, Sisodia also asked why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was silent on corruption by a chief minister of a state ruled by the saffron party.
He said, "They talk [BJP members] of corruption and level baseless allegations against members of opposition parties. I want to probe their understanding of corruption... want to ask them if they consider this (Assam case) corruption or not."
Sisodia said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Satyendar Jain on "bogus" charges of corruption and the Centre told the court on Friday that he is "not an accused".
The ED arrested Jain on May 30 in a money laundering case after hours of questioning. It alleged that he and his wife had amassed disproportionate wealth worth Rs 1.47 crore between February 2015-May 2017, more than double their known sources of income.
Following media reports on the PPE procurement and Sisodia's comments, the Opposition Congress, Raijor Dal, and Assam Jatiya Parishad have demanded a high-level probe by Central Bureau of Investigation, ED, or any other central agency into the matter.
Sarma's wife Rinki Sarma Bhuyan has claimed that she did not take a "single penny" for supplying PPE kits and asserted that she had always been "transparent" about her "giving back to the society".
(With PTI inputs)