Uttarakhand Congress protests against BJP's 'flip-flop' over CBI probe into NH-74 scam

Pradesh Congress president Pritam Singh accused the BJP government in the state of dragging its feet over the issue despite recommending a CBI probe into it.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 06, 2017, 19:39 PM IST

Dehradun: The Congress today protested across Uttarakhand against the ruling BJP's "flip-flop" over a CBI investigation into the Rs 300 crore NH-74 scam and sought the president's intervention to ensure that a probe was launched without delay.

Congress leaders burnt effigies of the state government in front of collectorates at all 13 district headquarters. They also submitted memorandums addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee to the district magistrates, urging him to expedite the CBI probe into the scam.

Leading the protests here, Pradesh Congress president Pritam Singh accused the BJP government in the state of dragging its feet over the issue despite recommending a CBI probe into it.

"It is more than two months since the BJP, which claims to have a zero-tolerance policy to corruption, came to power in the state. It sent a recommendation to the Centre to order a CBI probe into the NH-74 scam soon after being sworn in.

"However, the Centre instead of acting on the state government's recommendation is delaying it deliberately to save the big fish involved in the scam," Singh alleged.

"It has happened for the first time in a democracy that the Centre is prevaricating over a CBI probe into a scam inspite of the fact that the state government has recommended it," he claimed.

The PCC chief quoted from a letter written by transport minister Nitin Gadkari to Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat last month asking him to reconsider his decision on a CBI probe as it would affect the morale of NHAI officials working on different projects and impede their progress.

He alleged it proved that the Centre was mounting pressure on the state government to withdraw its recommendation to save the guilty.

Singh asked the Centre to clarify why it was "shying away" from a CBI probe into the scam.

Irregularities worth nearly Rs 300 crore were detected in the acquisition of farmland for the construction of the proposed NH-74 in Udham Singh Nagar district between 2011- 2016.

Farmland was shown to be non-agricultural to increase the compensation amount by at least 20 times to benefit chosen stakeholders and beneficiaries, he alleged.

The Congress leader also criticised the state government for transferring an official on the basis of whose report the CBI probe was recommended.

He also accused the state government of adding to the burden of the people of the state by increasing the price of water and electricity.