Goboi isn't my relative: Kiren Rijiju dismisses nepotism allegations in Arunachal hydro project scam

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, his cousin, who also is a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju, and several top officials of the state-run North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), have been accused of corruption in the construction of two dams in the Arunachal Pradesh hydro-electric projects scheme.

The reports claimed that Kiren, Goboi, and several top officials of the state-run NEEPCO, including its chairman and managing director, have been named in a 129-page report by the PSU's Chief Vigilance Officer Satish Verma that alleges corruption in construction of two dams for 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh. NEEPCO comes under the Union Power Ministry.

Verma's report was sent to the CBI, CVC and the Ministry of Power in July this year. It alleges an "elaborate conspiracy" involving contractors, NEEPCO officials and the West Kameng district administration to defraud NEEPCO and the government of funds that "may extend up to Rs 450 crore".

 Goboi isnt my relative: Kiren Rijiju dismisses nepotism allegations in Arunachal hydro project scam

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. Image courtesy PIB

West Kameng, the site of the project, comes under the parliamentary constituency of Kiren Rijiju. After Kiren Rijiju came under attack for his alleged involvement, he not only rejected allegations of wrongdoing but also said that those who have "planted" the story against him "will be beaten up with shoes". The Congress, meanwhile, alleged that it was a Rs 450 crore scam and demanded his resignation.

Who is Goboi Rijiju?

The 129-page report described Goboi as Kiren Rijiju's cousin, according to The Telegraph.

Kiren then distanced himself from Goboi. His statement was echoed by BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma, who also insisted that the contractor was not Rijiju's cousin as alleged.

Further, in an interview to NDTV's Barkha Dutt, Kiren Rijiju said that the entire contract work was awarded during Congress' time and that the scam was simply not worth mentioning. He added that his intervention was because of the local people from his village who asked him to get them their money and that he forwarded their memo verbatim to the power minister.

Barkha Dutt then asked Kiren, "Who is Goboi Rijiju," to which the Union Minister replied, "everybody is related to me that way. Goboi is not a contractor there; he's not on the list."

Dutt then brought up an old piece in The Hindu where Kiren Rijiju mentioned that Goboi was his distant cousin and that he would not tolerate if his name is used to get work done. Kiren Rijiju defended himself saying, "In the tribal community, in our local community, everybody is somehow related in name-calling. He is not blood relative to me; we belong to the same village, the same place. That's all."

Kiren Rijiju also told PTI that both his elder and younger brothers have expired.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 14, 2016 14:35:32 IST