Reacting to the allegations of irregularities in the supply of PPE kits, the Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that the PPE kits were "gifted to the government" and his wife's company "raised no bill" for it.
Taking to Twitter, Hemanta Biswa Sarma issued a clarification statement addressed to the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
He wrote, "At that point of COVID wave, we in Assam did not have any single PPE kit. After hectic efforts, my wife managed to bring in a few kits to save previous lives. Although the NHM issued order, the company raised no bill and the kits were gifted to the Govt."
"Not a single penny was transacted, where is the corruption?" he added.
Sisodia tweeted tagging a bill addressed to the JCB Industries from NHM-Assam mission director S Lakshmanan.
He wrote, "Honorable Chief Minister @himantabiswa ji! Here is your wife's contract to buy 5000 kits in the name of JCB Industries at 990/- per kit... Tell me, is this paper false? Is it not corruption to give a tender purchase order to your wife's company as a health minister?"
To this Sarma said, "Due to acute shortage then, every government including yours waived tender process for PPE and went for direct purchase."
"Don't cherry-pick from half the documents. Have the courage to put all the facts. Don't show half of a document trail, have courage to put all the facts?" Sarma added.
In his clarification, the Assam CM earlier 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 donated around 1,500 PPE kits free of cost to the government to save lives. She didn't take a single penny."
Sisodia on Saturday alleged that when Sarma was the state Health Minister back in 2020, he had given PPE kit orders to his wife and son's business partner's companies.
He said, "Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma gave government orders to his wife and son's business partner's companies in 2020 for PPE kits when he (CM) was the then health min. An elected CM has indulged in such corrupt activities, will the BJP put him behind the bars?"
Sarma also warned the Delhi Deputy CM of initiating legal action. "Stop sermonising and I will see you soon in Guwahati as you will face criminal defamation," Sarma warned.
Rinku Bhuyan Sarma, wife of Himanta Biswa Sarma also took to Twitter to issue a clarification over Sisodia's allegations.
She wrote, "In the first week of the pandemic, not a single PPE kit was available with Assam. Taking cognizance of the same, I reached out to a business acquaintance and delivered about 1500 PPE kits to NHM with a lot of effort. Later on, I wrote to the NHM to treat the same as part of my CSR."
"I didn't take a single penny out of the supply. I have always been transparent about my belief in giving back to society, irrespective of my husband's political standing," she added.