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Accused of graft, minister looks for cyanide
GUWAHATI, JUL 12 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 13 Jul. 2010 12:42 AM IST
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A Cabinet minister in Assam has sought cyanide after an RTI activist accused him of graft besides digging up “missing” documents pertaining to murder and extortion he was allegedly involved in two decades ago. “Am I the only politician in the state involved in graft? Give me cyanides to swallow if that can cleanse politics in Assam,” Assam Health and Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said here on Sunday.
The minister’s outburst followed RTI activist Akhil Gogoi’s allegations that he owned assets “including a TV channel disproportionate to his income”. Gogoi is the leader of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti.
Gogoi began going for Sarma’s jugular in June when he claimed RH Khan had gifted him a luxury car. Khan is a key accused in the Rs 1,000-crore scam in Dima Hasao district (erstwhile North Cachar Hills) involving diversion of government funds to a militant outfit.
Gogoi produced documents suggesting that Sarma and his wife had paid cash to buy two cars worth Rs 40 lakh in 2008 for their five-year-old daughter. The minister shot back saying the cars were purchased by his wife through bank loans. Last Friday, the RTI activist produced a letter written by a bureaucrat to the state’s chief secretary in 2005 in which he sought security after Sarma had threatened him with dire consequences.
The minister played down the incident to a case of misunderstanding. Gogoi fired another salvo on Saturday producing “missing” original documents, including case diaries of two TADA cases of the early 1990s. Sarma was accused of abetting the murder of a Youth Congress leader in one and of extortion in another. The Gauhati HC had dismissed the cases.
“We will submit them (documents) to the Supreme Court, seeking reopening of the cases,” Gogoi said.
Sarma countered: “My confessional statement, produced by Gogoi and recorded by police, was fabricated and taken under duress.”

 
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