Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday recorded his statement before a court in a criminal defamation case filed by him against Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
Sarma gave his statement in the court of chief judicial magistrate, Kamrup Rural, and several other witnesses in the case are likely to record theirs later this month.
“In June 2022, the honorable deputy chief minister of Delhi Mr Manish Sisodia in a press conference raised some serious allegations against Mr Himanta Biswa Sarma who is the chief minister of Assam. On being aggrieved by the allegation leveled by Mr Sisodia in that press conference, Mr Himanta Biswa Sarma has decided to lodge a criminal defamation case against him alleging that some allegations were made without any basis or without factual correctness. The case was registered some time back and today was the date fixed for the recording of his initial deposition. His statements were recorded by the chief judicial magistrate, Kamrp Rural,” informed Debojit Lon Saikia, advocate general of Assam.
On June 4, Sisodia alleged in a press conference that Sarma was involved in a scam. He said that in 2020, during the Covid pandemic, when the current chief minister of Assam was the health minister, he had allotted contracts for PPE kit supply to JCB Industries, which is co-owned by Sarma’s wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma. He also alleged that JCB Industries had been ordered to supply PPE kits at the rate of Rs 900, while others supplied the same for Rs 600.
When Sarma questioned the allegations, there was no clarification from Sisodia.
The Assam CM then decided to file a criminal defamation case under Indian Penal code sections 499, 500, and 501.
Riniki Bhuyan Sarma had also filed a Rs 100-crore defamation case against Sisodia in the court of civil judge no. 1 of Kamrup metropolitan district on June 21 over the same allegations.
Sarma’s advocate has maintained that JCB Industries did not participate in any bid to supply PPE kits to NHM, Assam, nor did it raise any bill. It had supplied about 1,500 PPE kits to NHM, Assam, as part of corporate social responsibility activities.