The BJP on Wednesday went on the offensive with the surfacing of a letter purportedly written by Congress leader and former Minister Yogendra Saw seeking sub-contracting work for his son from the main NTPC contractor in Pakri-Barwadih coal project.
Saw, who was arrested on Tuesday, is accused of instigating the mob that attacked the police party that freed his wife and Congress MLA Nirmala Devi at Dadi Kala in Barkagaon area of Hazaribagh on October 1, which led to police firing leaving four persons dead. Nirmala Devi was leading a protest against the coal mining project of NTPC in the area.
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Saw’s son, however, denied the existence of the letter and said he would consult his father in jail and move the court against defamation. He said the letter doing the rounds had fake signatures of his father.
The purported letter, dated January this year on the letter pad of Yogendra Saw, former minister, requests the Triveni Earth Movers Private Limited, a Tamil Nadu-based company, which is the Mine-Developer-cum-operator (MDO), to get in touch with Ankit Raj, MD of Ashtbhuji Mining, in connection with sub-contracting work to the tune of 30-35 million cubic metres of removing overburden, besides transportation etc.
The said letter has Saw highlighting the backwardness of his area and assuring ‘harmonious’ development in tandem with the MDO.
Contacted, Raj, the only son of Saw, said: “I have come across the said letter too. The signature is not that of my father. Moreover, there is no company as Ashtbhuji Mining. I am a student of law from Vinoba Bhave University, having already completed my MBA. But, I have never been an official of any company. In fact, I am not even in politics. I will be meeting my father in jail tomorrow and move the court for defamation for those who publish the letter.”
Raj further added that the family ran a small company making bricks in Barkagaon area. “It is a small refractory. Our TIN does not even include mining work. We are simply ineligible to do that. This whole episode of the said letter is just an attempt on the part of the government to deflect attention from the real issues, which is people’s demand for a just compensation,” he said.
However, state BJP vice-president Rakesh Prasad issued a statement saying the letter showed how Saw, who claimed to be championing the cause of people in Barkagaon, was actually working for his own interests. He said: “The letter makes it clear that Saw was working for his own interests and was trying to get a good deal for his son, while claiming to be champion of the poor.”
Prasad went on to add that it was Congress that had created problems related to displacement and was now putting obstacles in the path of development.
Meanwhile, a joint opposition march to Governor’s House, which was announced recently by Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) leaders, along with those of the Left, turned out to be a damp squib. Almost all the senior opposition leaders were missing from the march, leaving it to office-bearers or district level leaders.
When contacted, a Congress spokesperson said: “It was an announcement made by a senior Congress leader. However, it was not part of the official programme. Still, people from our Party went there. But, the question is not only opposition unity, but of the sensitiveness that required to be shown by the BJP government. The CM has not visited there since the incident. Citing some letter by any of our leader doesn’t mean much, because ultimately it is the people who need to be provided relief.”
JVM (P) spokesperson Mohammad Tauhid said that the Party has demanded a judicial inquiry into the firing incident, besides Rs 25 lakh compensation to the families of the victims. Earlier, Babulal Marandi had gone to Barkagaon, but had returned after being stopped by the administration.
JMM too had extended support to the opposition march, but none of the top leaders were part of it.