A Modi minister linked to an alleged Rs 450 crore 'scam'

A vigilance officer in his 129-page report has also named Rijiju's cousin Goboi Rijiju

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju is facing allegations of nepotism in connection with financial irregularities in the construction of two dams for one of Arunachal Pradesh’s biggest hydro-electric projects. Rijiju, however, has rubbished the allegations calling them ‘shameful and planted’.

Chief Vigilance Officer of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), Satish Verma, in his 129-page report has also named Rijiju’s cousin Goboi Rijiju, a contractor in the state; and other top officials in the ‘elaborate conspiracy’.

As per a report in The Indian Express, efforts were made to “defraud NEEPCO and the government of funds that may extend up to Rs 450 crore.” The site of the project which is under the radar is in the Minister’s parliamentary constituency – Arunachal West.

Verma alleges that his tenure as the CVO was curtailed by a year after he flagged off the scam. While cutting short his tenure as CVO, he was served a notice for alleged “misconduct” and “unauthorised absence” from duty by the Home Ministry. Verma has denied all charges against him maintaining that all his outstation visits were accounted for.

In his report, Verma has claimed that several bills raised for transporting rocks needed for the construction of the dam were allegedly fake. He has alleged that transportation cost for the project was decided arbitrarily, transport challans and records provided by the contractor, Patel Engineering Limited (PEL), were fake.

As per the records, Rijiju in his letter dated November 4, 2015, had asked the Ministry of Power to release funds to the contractor. When his cousin, Goboi Rijiju – one of the sub-contractors in the project – went to meet Verma, he had pushed the CVO to clear the payments offering “any help you need from Bhaiya (the Minister).”

Rijiju had written the said letter in reference to a plea from localites on September 29 where it was alleged that the payment to PEL and, and also to the local contractors had been halted at the instructions of Satish Verma. Rijiju’s intervention was sought to solve the problems.

The NEEPCO project includes two dams over the Bichom and Tenga rivers.