Union Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju is at the centre of a dispute these days for having sought release of payments for contractors named in a vigilance probe. While Congress is seeking his resignation, the minister hits back at the opposition and said all payments were made during Congress’s tenure in office.
Defending himself, Rijiju said he had no objectionable role in the payments linked to the 600MW Kameng hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh. He also denied that the contractor Goboi Rijiju was a blood relative.
“If Congress is terming this as a scam, then it has to apologise to the nation and to me also. All the contract works were allotted during Congress’s time. All payments were made during Congress’s time. We were not in the government. I was not even an MP at the time,” he said.
Rijiju said he was approached by locals for clearing the payments after he became an MP. “Villagers came to me and told me that a few payments were remaining and that please get it cleared. (They said) we are small sub-contractors whose payments worth ₹10,000-20,000 are pending. That is all. I just forwarded their letter (to the power minister),” he told TOI.
When enquired if he had intervened in the interests of his “cousin” Goboi, Rijiju denied they were associated. “All the people of my village are cousins. We cannot inter-marry within the village. Being cousins, however, does not mean we have blood relations. Besides, the person concerned is not even a contractor in the list,” he claimed.
The CVO of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) Satish Verma in July sent a 128-page report on alleged irregularities in the hydropower project to the CBI, the CVC and the power ministry. The reports said to have named Rijiju and his “cousin” Goboi, a sub-contractor for Patel Engineering Limited (PEL) in the case.