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regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

Why CBI, ED action against Suvendhu Adhikari and Tapas Roy stalled: Congress to PM Modi

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also asked if the prime minister prioritised his PR over vaccines and funds under the National Health Mission

PTI New Delhi Published 29.05.24, 11:48 AM
Narendra Modi and Jairam Ramesh (inset)

Narendra Modi and Jairam Ramesh (inset) File

The Congress on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi whether he was withholding Rs 7,000 crore of paddy procurement funds to West Bengal and if the CBI case against Suvendu Adhikari has got "washed away" in the BJP's washing machine.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also asked if the prime minister prioritised his PR over vaccines and funds under the National Health Mission.

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"Today's questions for the outgoing PM's West Bengal visit: Is the outgoing PM withholding Rs 7,000 crore of ration funds so that his face is plastered on ration shops? Did Suvendu Adhikari's CBI case get washed away in BJP's washing machine? Does the PM prioritise his PR over vaccines for India's children?" he asked in a post on X.

He posed the questions on a day the prime minister is campaigning in West Bengal for the last phase of elections on June 1.

"In an incredibly petty move, the Centre has been withholding National Food Security Act funds from West Bengal for not displaying the outgoing PM's face on ration shops. In an attempt to coerce the state government into displaying sign boards and flexes featuring the outgoing PM's photos, the Centre has withheld Rs 7,000 crore of paddy procurement funds," Ramesh charged.

He said this could seriously hinder the state's paddy procurement and the availability of rice for the public distribution system.

"Why has the outgoing PM so callously neglected the health and wellbeing of the people of West Bengal? Is his publicity more important than people's daily food?" the Congress leader asked.

He said in April 2017, the CBI filed an FIR against then TMC MP Adhikari in connection with the Narada scam.

In April 2019, the CBI sought sanction from the Lok Sabha speaker to prosecute him and in December 2020, Adhikari joined the BJP, and the CBI never received the Lok Sabha speaker's sanction.

Similarly, he said, TMC leader Tapas Roy was raided by the ED in January this year in connection with a money laundering case and by March, he had also joined the BJP. Just a few months prior to his joining, Adhikari had alleged that Roy was involved in a municipal recruitment scam but this allegation also "disappeared" once Roy joined the party, he alleged.

"The PM's 'Bhrashtachar Hatao' slogan is shamelessly plastered all over the country even as his party is busy handing tickets to corrupt politicians.

"Can the outgoing PM shed any light on why CBI and ED action against these leaders has been stalled? How can the BJP make pretensions to eradicating corruption when their 'washing machine' is clearly at full spin in West Bengal?" Ramesh asked in his post.

He also alleged that the government has blocked the National Health Mission funding to over 11,000 sub-health centres in West Bengal. These sub-health centres form the first line of defence for India's poor - they are staffed by nurses and provide vaccines for children, tablets, and medicines for common fever, malaria, TB, and other infectious diseases, he claimed.

While the sub-centres are supposed to be called Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres, the state government had named them Sushasthya Centres, he claimed, adding that in a letter on November 25 last year, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) wrote to states, ordering them to rename sub-centres "Ayushman Arogya Mandir" and paint them orange.

The medical community has criticised this attempt by the BJP to "saffronise" medical centres, and the state government has refused to implement it, he said.

"In a petty and vindictive move, the Modi Sarkar seems to have blocked funds just because the state government refused to paint sub-centres a different colour. This comes after the Centre has already blocked state funds to MGNREGA and a Central housing scheme.

"In their vindictiveness, why is the BJP denying essential health services to the poorest communities in the state? Does the outgoing PM prioritise his PR over vaccines for India's children?" Ramesh asked.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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