Former Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was grilled by the CBI in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam Wednesday, has said he would not contest any election till the CBI absolved him in the case. “I will also ask my party not to nominate me,” he added. Assembly polls in Assam are due in March-April 2016.
Sarma, who was health and education minister in the Tarun Gogoi cabinet, also claimed he was “much relaxed” after having deposed before the CBI at the agency’s Kolkata office. “You can see from my body language how relaxed I am,” he said.
Sarma, who resigned in July after falling out with Assam CM Tarun Gogoi, entered the CBI office at around 9:45am and emerged around 5:45pm. But he told mediapersons that he was quizzed for about 90 minutes in three separate sessions. “I was interrogated by an Inspector for about 35 minutes, by an SP for 20-25 minutes and by a Joint Director for 30-35 minutes. That’s all,” he claimed.
“There is a political conspiracy against me. I told the CBI that (Saradha chief) Sudipto Sen had met me only once and I had no monetary relation with him. I also told them that I attended the inauguration of a biscuit factory (in Dhubri, owned by Saradha), but that was purely out of courtesy as a CPM MLA from West Bengal was attending the function. Sudipto Sen was not there,” Sarma said.
About a letter purportedly written by Sen where his name was mentioned, Sarma said, “I am sure this letter was not written by Sudipto Sen. If he did, my name would not have been in it”.
He added: “This letter was written in 2011, at a time when the CM had started disliking me. I was no longer powerful then. I had become weak since Gaurav Gogoi (Tarun Gogoi’s son) entered politics.”
Regarding his proximity to singer-filmmaker Sadananda Gogoi, who was arrested by the CBI in connection with the scam on September 12, Sarma said Gogoi was close to many other owners and editors of newspapers and TV channels in Guwahati.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines