New Delhi: With no end in sight to the ongoing tussle in Parliament, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opened a new front against the Congress by releasing a video of a purported sting operation against Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat's personal secretary Mohammed Shahid, in which he is seen as negotiating with middlemen to change the excise policy in the state.
Releasing the video at the party headquarters, Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The excise policy of Uttarakhand under Vijay Bhauguna was to have the wholesale distribution of foreign liquor (FL-2) through Garwhal Mandal Vikas Nigam and Agriculture Marketing Council. These two then distribute to the smaller retailers and the third layer was the retail outlet.”
Sitharaman said that after the Congress replaced Bhauguna with Harish Rawat in view of the Uttarakhand floods, among the first thing the new CM did was to change the liquor policy of the state.
“Harish Rawat's priority was to change the policy in such a way that the liquor distribution would happen through agencies which they will bring in and only transportation would happen through GMVN,” he said.
The minister added that the distribution was removed from government agency GMVN... the public body was sidelined and private agencies at the convenience and through the pick and chose policy of the Chief Minister and his PS Mohammed Shahid and passed on to private agencies.
“There was an understanding of several hundred of crores (of rupees)...let us bargain how much you will give me, the PS sits and negotiates with these people saying how much are you giving now and the payment would be made in Delhi or Dehradun. 25% now, 75% later all this comes through in that sting operation,” she said.
“Very clearly, with a clear intention of making money in a state like Uttarakhand which is crying for help, the chief minister and his handpicked and chosen PS, an IAS officer from Gujarat cadre who was brought in even when he was a union minister," he added.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat today rejected BJP's allegations of corruption against him over alleged changes in liquor policy saying the party was "desperate" and making the charge to deflect national attention from scams involving its top leaders.
"BJP is trying to divert public attention from the charges of corruption against their ministers by setting up these baseless and false allegations. There were no changes in FL2 (foreign liquor) policy because it is in the hands of public sector undertakings (PSU). Since they are not in private hands why would we talk to private parties?" Rawat asked, as per PTI.
Changes were instead brought in the country liquor policy framed by the erstwhile BJP government, he said.
Questioning the veracity of the video, Rawat said he had ordered that it should be sent for forensic examination once they obtain it.
"The audio and video is not clear. There is no clarity as to when it was recorded," he said.
(With Agency inputs)