NH-74 scam:Cong intensifies stir, demands CBI probe

A day after D Senthil Pandiyan, who unearthed the National Highway-74 scam in Uttarakhand, was removed as the Commissioner of Kumaon, Opposition Congress intensified its stir against what it claimed was the Centre’s attempt to target the official.

Led by Leader of the Opposition in Uttarakhand Assembly Indira Hridayesh, the party staged a dharna outside the Udham Singh Nagar district collectorate office in Rudrapur today accusing the Centre of trying to sweep the “huge fraud” under the carpet and trying to protect the “high and mighty” involved in it.

Addressing party workers at the dharna venue, Hridayesh alleged that Pandiyan, who blew the lid off the irregularities to the tune of around Rs 300 crore, was removed from his post under pressure from the Centre, which instead of ordering a CBI probe into it was targeting officials who unearthed it.

Pandiyan was among 19 IAS officials transferred by the state government yesterday. From the Kumaon Commissioner he has been made Transport Commissioner.

Threatening to intensify the stir if a CBI probe was not instituted immediately into the scam, Hridayesh said she would stage a dharna inside the state Assembly on June 8 when its Budget session begins.

Meanwhile, Congress Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Tamta, who was in New Tehri today, criticised Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari for writing to Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat in April saying a probe will lower the morale of NHAI officials named in the FIR lodged in connection with the scam besides impeding the progress of projects taken up by the NHAI in the state.

“This is a clear attempt by the minister to save corrupt officials,” he said.

He also asked what became of Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledge to not indulge in corruption himself nor let others do so (na khaunga na khane doonga).

Reacting to the allegations, state BJP president Ajay Bhatt said Pandiyan’s transfer is a routine exercise.

“The Congress is making a hue and cry unnecessarily. Pandiyan is among the 19 IAS officials transferred. It has happened in normal course,” he said. He said the Chief Minister had already recommended a CBI probe into the scam on the basis of the report submitted by Pandiyan.


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