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Corruption scandals haunt BJP govt in Uttarakhand

Shishir Prashant  |  New Delhi/ Dehra Dun 

Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata may have opened the Pandora’s box by highlighting corruption at the top echelons.

After Tata, yoga guru Baba Ramdev has also raked up another controversy by claiming that a minister had demanded Rs 2 crore as bribe from him two years ago. This is the latest of a series of alleged scandals that have come back to haunt the BJP government in the hill state. Without naming the minister concerned, Baba Ramdev further alleged that he had apprised the then Chief Minister of the incident at that time.

Senior BJP leader B C Khanduri, who was holding the top post two years ago, today asked Ramdev to disclose the name of the minister and demanded a high-level probe by an independent agency in this regard. “Swami Ramdev never informed me about any minister demanding Rs 2 crore and neither lodged a complaint. Had Baba Ramdev given me such information, I would have sacked the minister concerned immediately and ordered an inquiry,” Khanduri said in a statement. But Khanduri maintained that he had never doubted the integrity of Baba Ramdev, whom he holds in high esteem.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand High Court has fixed November 29 as the next date of hearing in the case pertaining to the Rishikesh-based housing project where the state government changed the land use pattern from industry to housing.

On a bunch of petitions filed by the NGOs, the government has so far maintained in the court that it only followed the advice of the Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) on the matter. The government last year accorded permission to Mumbai-based Citurgia Biochemical limited, which was producing chemical carbonate at its Rishikesh plant, for a housing project. A lockout was declared in the factory in 2003 after it became sick and the matter was referred to the BIFR.

Though the government claimed that the permission for the housing project was accorded under a BIFR revival scheme, the NGOs have claimed that such permission cannot be accorded for a housing project along the river Ganga on environmental grounds. The opposition parties are seeking a CBI probe claiming the project was cleared to benefit some BJP leaders.

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First Published: Sat, November 20 2010. 00:13 IST