Stung by news reports about his cousin being involved in a corruption scandal, a petulant Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs, ‘threatened ‘ to welcome question-asking, pesky journalists with shoes if they ever visited his home state of Arunachal Pradesh to unearth more details. Rijiju himself if also ‘involved’ in the scandal, if a report in today’s edition of the Indian Express is anything to go by, though the degree of his involvement is yet to be proven till now.
Express had reported upon a 129-page report Satish Verma, the Chief Vigilance Officer of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), who has alleged that its Chairman and Managing Director had committed massive fraud in the construction of a hydel power plant in collusion with some unscrupulous contractors. Verma’s report alleges that Rijiju’s cousin Goboi Rijiju was one of the contractors involved in the swindling, and the former himself had signed cheques clearing the payments for constructions which have remained only a distant dream in reality till now. Besides, the fraud, estimated to be worth 450 crores, also involves inflated bills and non-existent transport challans. Verma, who was recently transferred to the CRPF without any reasons being assigned, has alleged vindictiveness by NEEPCO for his enthusiastic investigation. He does not rule out Rijiju’s hand, though he hasn’t made any direct attribution till now.
Incidentally, he is the same IPS Gujarat cadre officer who had unearthed the alleged mystery surrounding the fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan. When questioned if that had got anything to do with Verma’s abrupt transfer, Rijiju shot back, saying that ” Those plating news shall face the people’s wrath.”
When CNN IBN asked him if he would order a fair and impartial probe into the corruption charges, Rijiju ruled out any such possibility, saying that wild and malicious allegations deserve to be ignored. He also said that “Helping people is not corruption.”
This isn’t the first time Kiren Rijiju has flared up when confronted with uncomfortable questions. Not too long ago, when journalists questioned the government about the alleged illegal inmates of a Bhopal Jaill, Rijiju shot back, saying that doubting Thomases of reporters suffer from a lack of culture and good manners. Patriotic people always ought to buy the government’s version at face value, and ignore allegations of wrongdoing, he had asserted.