GUWAHATI, June 21 - State Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit against ABP News, which aired a news linking �power-broker� Anuj Poddar with him.
The news report had claimed that during a raid, conducted by the Income Tax department in Anuj Poddar�s New Delhi residence, tax sleuths allegedly found facts of relationship between Poddar and the BJP Minister.
�I am outraged by a @abpnewstv News report linking me to a person whom I have never met or known in my life. @abpnewstv news report has defamed me in public light,� the Minister twitted this afternoon.
The defamation suit against ABP News has been filed before the Court of Civil Judge, Sr division, Kamrup District, Guwahati.
After the news broke out, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reportedly directed for handing over the investigation of the case to the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Debabrata Saikia has dared Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to institute an enquiry under his (Sonowal�s) �personal supervision� into the reported link between the Delhi-based �power broker� or middleman Anuj Poddar and a Cabinet Minister of the State. Saikia also demanded a statement from the Chief Minister immediately to clarify his stand on the issue.
Saikia said that media reports have it today that a raid carried out by the Income Tax Department�s sleuths in the premises of Poddar on May 27, 2018 led to the unearthing of documents of the Assam Government such as file notes and tender details/quotations of specific departments, along with the details of the interaction between Poddar and a senior member of the State Cabinet, among others.
The Leader of the Opposition said referring the media reports that the Income Tax officials have already submitted a report to the Union Government on the link between Poddar and the said Cabinet Minister of the State.
�Such prima facie indictment is a matter of great consternation for the people of Assam, especially as it makes a mockery of your oft-repeated promise of providing a clean administration with �zero-tolerance of corruption.� Since the controversy involves one of the senior-most members of your Cabinet, you are now faced with the litmus test of backing up your words with appropriate action against a stalwart of your own party.
�In order to preserve your credibility in the eyes of the people who elected you to lead our State, if for no other consideration, I exhort you to immediately conduct an enquiry under your personal supervision into Poddar�s links with the Minister in question. I also deem it proper to call upon you to lose no time in issuing a public statement to clarify your stand regarding this undeniable blot on the image of the Government headed by you, as well as the action you intend to take for upholding the sanctity of probity in public life,� said Saikia in his letter to the Chief Minister.