Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has filed a criminal defamation case on Friday against Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, The Times of India reported on Friday.
On June 21, the chief minister’s wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma had filed a civil defamation suit against Sisodia.
The Delhi deputy chief minister had on June 5 alleged in a press conference that Himanta Biswa Sarma gave contracts to companies owned by his wife and his son’s business partners to supply personal protective equipment kits above market rates during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
He had referred to reports in The Wire and The Cross Current that were based on replies from the state’s National Health Mission to Right To Information applications. The report by The Wire alleged that the contract to supply medical utilities was approved without following a proper tender process.
Sisodia had alleged that Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was the health minister of Assam in 2020, gave urgent supply orders to Riniki Bhuyan Sarma’s firm JCB Industries and an associate’s company Meditime Healthcare.
Sarma, however, denied the allegations and claimed that his wife had gifted the PPE kits to the Assam government during the first wave of the pandemic.
“At a time when the entire country was facing the worst pandemic in over 100 years, Assam hardly had any PPE kits,” Sarma wrote on Twitter. “My wife took the courage of coming forward and donating around 1,500 free of cost to the government to save lives. She didn’t take a single penny.”
Sarma had at the time said that he would file a case of criminal defamation against the AAP leader.
In response, the Delhi deputy chief minister posted a document of the tender purchase order sanctioned to JCB Industries.
“Tell me, is this paper false?” he asked. “Is it not corruption to give a purchase order without a tender to your wife’s company as a health minister?”