After the Assam government refuted allegations by a section of the media that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s family was involved in ‘malpractices in the supply of PPE kits’, the CM said ‘it was not corruption, but humanity’.
“As India battled the Covid pandemic in 2020, then Assam health minister Himanta Sarma gave contracts to companies of his wife and son’s business partners to supply PPE kits above market rates,” AAP leader Manish Sisodia had alleged on Saturday citing media reports.
At a press conference, he claimed that while the Assam government procured PPE kits for Rs 600 a piece from other companies, Sarma gave urgent supply orders to the firms of his wife and son’s business partners for Rs 990 a piece “taking advantage of the COVID-19 emergency”.
The firm belonging to Sarma’s wife does not even deal in medical equipment, he alleged. “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,” Sisodia said citing the media report.
Responding to the allegations, CM Sarma said, “the company in question wrote to Assam’s NHM stating that supply of around 1,500 PPE kits for Covid warriors must be treated as CSR contribution and hence not a single rupee must be paid by Govt. Assam NHM duly acknowledged the same. Manish bhai, this is not corruption, it’s humanity. My wife hasn’t committed a crime, she tried to help Assam at the time of its biggest crisis.”
“Throwing muck at others will not be accepted. You will face legal consequences,” he said.
The company in question wrote to Assam’s NHM stating that supply of around 1,500 PPE kits for Covid warriors must be treated as CSR contribution and hence not a single rupee must be paid by Govt. pic.twitter.com/HnFbs5ZbPy
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) June 5, 2022
Government spokesman Pijush Hazarika had said there was no scam in the supply of PPE kits and no member of the chief minister’s family were involved in the supply of any material related to the COVID pandemic.
The allegations are ”false, imaginary, malicious and can be attributed as the handiwork of a certain section with vested interests,” Hazarika, who is also the state’s minister for water resources and information and public relations told reporters here.
“Why are the two organisations (who made the claims) not going to the Court if they have evidence instead of making false and baseless allegations ?” he added. On June 1 two digital media organisations – New Delhi-based ‘The Wire’ and Guwahati-based ‘The Crosscurrent’ in a joint investigative report claimed that the Assam government had placed four COVID-19 related emergency medical supply orders most likely without following proper process.
With inputs from News18