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Charges against Kiren Rijiju completely false, baseless: Power Ministry

Author: TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 13, 2016
URL:   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/charges-against-kiren-rijiju-completely-false-baseless-power-ministry/articleshow/55965333.cms

The Union Power Ministry on Tuesday strongly denied the allegations levelled by the Congress against Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and said he had no role in the release of payments made by NEEPCO Ltd.

"The allegations made against Rijiju are unsubstantiated, completely false, baseless and are totally denied," the power ministry said in a statement.

The statement says that at no point did Rijiju recommend to the Power Minister that payment be released but only requested that "kindly get this petition considered in your ministry sympathetically on priority."

The letter written by Minister of State for Home has no bearing on any payments released by NEEPCO as the payment had already been released, the statement says.

Earlier today Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had alleged that Rijiju had written a letter recommending that held up payments of contractors in the 600 MW Kameng hydro-electric project in Arunachal Pradesh be released.

Rijiju has denied the charges and has blamed the Congress for the charges of corruption.

Here is the full text of the statement released by the Power Ministry:

Certain unsubstantiated, false and baseless allegations have been made by some persons in sections of the media about some alleged irregularities in payments made by NEEPCO Ltd. which are completely false and are totally denied.

From the record, it is gathered that an officer, Shri S.C. Verma, who was appointed as CVO of NEEPCO on 8th October, 2014, was transferred on 4th July, 2016 to CRPF, since he was charge sheeted on 9th May, 2016 for continued violation of CVC instructions and for violation of All India Service Conduct Rules, 1968, for not performing his duties with due diligence and care. It was found that Shri Verma stayed away from Shillong, the headquarters of NEEPCO, for a total period of 310 days during the 18 month period (October 2014 to March 2016) without intimating the authorities or submitting any tour reports. It is also reported that most of his tours were to places which were not the area of operations of NEEPCO.

After being relieved of his duties on 5th July, 2016, he sent 10 back dated reports to the Ministry of Power which were received between 18th July, 2016 to 25th July, 2016. Further it has been reported that Shri Verma retained some official files in his personal custody and did not hand them over at the time of relinquishing his charge. It has also been confirmed that 10 (ten) outward dispatch numbers were taken by Shri Verma from the Establishment Section of NEEPCO before relinquishing charge, and the same numbers were found in the office copy of the forwarding letters of these reports, which were received later on. The report on the alleged matter has been examined by the present CVO of NEEPCO and forwarded to CVC last month for appropriate action.

As regards the alleged irregularities, it is pertinent to note that the project work was awarded to M/s Patel Engineering Ltd. (PEL) in December 2004, much before the present government took charge. Work for transportation of boulders/ sand was awarded to them in 2012 itself, much before the present government took charge. PEL executed the work from December, 2012 to July, 2015 and payment was made to them from time to time during this period, after due process of verification and measurement of quantity at site and the certification of distance by the State government officials namely Asstt. District Mineral Officer (ADMO), regarding quantity of boulder/sand mined from the respective quarry. In July 2015, Shri Verma visited the site and initiated an investigation and stopped all payments due to which the work at site was affected. On examination of the record, it has been found that, Shri Verma himself authorised on 19th October, 2015, adhoc payment of 60% of the billed amount and subsequently himself further authorised the provisional payment of 80% of the billed amount vide letter dated 3rd February, 2016.

On 9th November, 2015, Hon'ble Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju forwarded a representation of local inhabitants of his constituency, complaining about the stoppage of payments to the sub-contractor of PEL for transportation of boulders/sand. At no point did Shri Rijiju recommend that payment be released but only requested that "kindly get this petition considered in your Ministry sympathetically on priority".

It was reported to the Ministry that, under the instructions of Shri Verma 60% payment had already been made on 4th November, 2015 to M/s PEL, much before the letter of Shri Kiren Rijiju. The same was intimated to Shri Rijiju by Shri Piyush Goyal, MoS (Independent Charge) Power vide letter dated 31st December, 2015 (copy enclosed).

Hence, the letter written by Hon'ble MoS Home Affairs has no bearing on any payments released by NEEPCO as the payment had already been released before his letter under authorization of Shri Verma. NEEPCO is a Mini Ratna company and the government does not interfere in the operational matters of PSUs. No instructions or directions by the Government were given to NEEPCO at any time for making any payments. Thus, the allegations made are baseless, totally false and seem to be motivated by the charge-sheet issued against an officer for violation of CVC instructions and service conduct rules.
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