RANGIA/GUWAHATI, Aug 5: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday recorded his statement before a court in a criminal defamation case filed by him against Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
Sarma gave his statement in the court of chief judicial magistrate, Kamrup Rural, and several other witnesses in the case are likely to record theirs later this month, the chief minister’s advocate, Devajit Saikia, told PTI.
The CM filed the case on June 30 taking exception to the “baseless” corruption charges levelled against him by Sisodia in connection with the supply of PPE kits at “higher than market rates” to National Health Mission (NHM) authorities during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic by JCB Industries, which is co-owned by Sarma’s wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma.
Saikia said, “The chief minister gave his statement, which is part of the initial deposition. The next hearing in the case is likely to be scheduled for later this month.”
He said four witnesses are slated to record their statements in the case.
“After the statements are recorded and inquiry completed, the court will decide about issuance of a process against the deputy CM of Delhi for the allegations he had raised against Sarma,” the senior advocate added.
Bhuyan Sarma had also filed a Rs 100-crore defamation case against Sisodia at the court of Civil Judge number one of Kamrup Metropolitan district on June 21, over the same allegations.
Sarma’s advocate has maintained that the JCB Industries did not participate in any bid to supply PPE kits to NHM, Assam, nor did it raise any bill. It had supplied about 1,500 PPE kits to NHM, Assam, as part of corporate social responsibility activities.
Earlier, on June 1, two digital media organisations – in a joint investigative report – claimed that the Assam government had placed four Covid-related emergency medical supply orders, most likely without following proper process.
Subsequently, the Opposition Congress, Raijor Dal and Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) had separately demanded a high-level probe by the CBI, the ED or any other central agencies into the alleged irregularities. (PTI)