A local court in Guwahati on Tuesday, 23 July, directed Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to appear before it on 29 September, in connection with a defamation case filed by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in June.
This comes amid the Central Bureau of investigation's (CBI's) probe into the AAP leader's alleged involvement in the financial irregularities regarding the now-suspended Delhi excise policy.
The central agency had, on 19 August, named Sisodia as the no.1 accused in its FIR on the reported 'scam.'
Meanwhile, Sarma on 30 June, had filed a criminal defamation case against Sisodia, for accusing him of corruption charges relating to the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to the National Health Mission (NHM) authorities at price "higher than market rates," during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sarma's advocate Devojit Saikia had claimed that charges against Assam CM were "baseless."
What Is the Case About?
The case, as mentioned, is about PPE kits being supplied to the National Health Mission, Assam during the first wave of COVID-19 at “higher than market rates,” by JCB Industries, a company co-owned by Assam CM's wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma.
"Manish Sisodia had levelled corruption charges against Himanta Biswa Sarma at a press conference in New Delhi on 04 June. He had specifically claimed that NHM had procured PPE kits at inflated rates from a company co-owned by Sarma’s wife during his tenure as the state’s health minister in 2020,” said Saikia.
Manish Sisodia had said earlier in June:
"Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma gave government order to his wife and son's business partner's companies in 2020 for PPE kits when he was the then health minister. An elected CM has indulged in such corrupt activities, will the BJP put him behind the bars?"
Countering Sisodia's allegations, Assam CM said, "At a time when the entire country was facing the worst pandemic in over 100 years, Assam hardly had any PPE Kits. My wife took the courage of coming forward and donating around 1500 free of cost to the govt to save lives. She didn’t take a single penny."
In May, Riniki Bhuyan Sarma had also filed a Rs 100 crore defamation case against Manish Sisodia in the Court of Civil Judge No 1 of the Kamrup Metropolitan district.
While addressing a press meet on 4 June, Sisodia made "some allegations that damaged” Bhuyan Sarma’s “reputation and position," Advocate Kishor Kumar Dutta said.
(With inputs from ANI.)