Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said he was willing to accept any punishment, including retirement from public life, if there is any evidence that his wife has received or claimed any amount from the government of India and threatened to move court against Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi.
"I want to emphasise again that neither my wife, nor the company she is associated with, has received or claimed any amount from the government of India. If anyone can provide evidence, I am willing to accept any punishment including retirement from public life," the chief minister wrote on 'X' in reply to a post by the Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi.
Gogoi and Sarma have been locked in a war of words on 'X' since Wednesday on the issue of the chief minister's wife's company allegedly being given a credit subsidy of Rs 10 crore.
When the Congress leader urged Sarma to be present in the Assam assembly and clarify the matter instead of typing on 'X', chief minister threatened him of moving court.
"Please be present in the Assam Assembly and clarify the matter instead of typing on 'X'. Congress MLAs have moved an adjournment motion to discuss the entire Pride Media-KMSY issue, but your answer is lacking," Gogoi said.
Sarma responded, ''Please do not lecture me on what to do. Whether I decide to go to the assembly or a court of law against you, I will make that decision myself''.
The Congress leader further urged Sarma not to get agitated and said he will send the "link of opposition MLAs wanting your presence in Assembly...I will be happy if you move court, then at least all the documents will be made public".
An angry Sarma retorted with, "Yes, I am agitated. There have been numerous reasons for my anger against your family since 2010. I am confident that we will meet in court, and once again, I will be able to prove my point.
"I have successfully done so in 2016 and 2021, and I am determined to do it again, both in the people's court and in a court of law."
Earlier in the day, the Congress leader posted a reply by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, who had responded to a question in the Lok Sabha by Assam BJP MP Pallab Lochan Das on March 22, 2023.
The Union minister's response to the question also included an annexure in which chief minister's wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma and the company 'Pride East Entertainment Private Limited' with which she is associated finds a mention.
The chief minister claimed that the ''reply itself clarifies the fact that the government of India has not released any funds to the mentioned company''.
In retaliation, Gogoi said, "Is Hon’ble Chief Minister complaining to Union Minister Piyush Goyal? He is saying Goyal has only approved the grant to the wife of Sarma but has not released the funds. How many more BJP politicians have used the PMKSY scheme to enrich their families?."
The Congress leader further said the ''whole day yesterday Himanta Biswa Sarma parroted one line regarding his wife’s firm. For his benefit, I am stating that the reply of Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal in Parliament has exposed the truth and both ministers need to clarify''.
The chief minister replied, ''Please do not change the goal post now. Yes, all family members of BJP politicians have the right to run their own companies and seek government subsidies if they are entitled to them. This is true for everyone. However, I would like to clarify that in this particular case, my wife has not even claimed the subsidy''.
Gogoi had posted on Wednesday that the website of the Ministry of Food Processing shows that Riniki Bhuyan Sarma’s firm Pride East Entertainments Private Limited had received Rs 10 crore as part of credit linked subsidy to which the chief minister asserted that his wife and the company she is associated with have not received any subsidy from the central government.
The PM Kisan Sampada Yojana is a comprehensive package which aims to create modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management.
An Assamese web portal recently published a report alleging that a substantial parcel of agricultural land measuring over 50 bighas at Darigaji village in Kaliabor in Nagaon district was reclassified as industrial land within a month after it was bought by family members of the chief minister.
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