NEW DELHI -- Levelling allegations of a liquor scam and loot against Uttarkhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, the Bharatiya Janata Party today accused the senior Congress Party leader and his personal secretary of changing state's policy on granting liquor licenses to make profits.
BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman made the charges against Rawat in a press conference in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon, while playing a video from a sting operation, which, she told reporters showed Mohammed Shahid, Rawat's personal secretary, negotiating with private parties.
"Uttarakhand CM and his hand-picked personal secretary were involved in liquor scam and loot during Uttarakhand floods," she told reporters. "We have a video proof which shows involvement of Uttarakhand CM's close confidante in the scam," she said.
More than six thousand people died during the floods in 2013, and hundreds of thousands were injured as the state had struggled to mobilise adequate response in the face of the natural calamity.
Questioning the authenticity of the tape, Rawat has denied the involvement of any private party in liquor trade in the state."Nobody has authenticated voice or the video. BJP should have also revealed about where and when it was recorded," Rawat said in a evening press conference. "Whatever I have seen, there is no clarity. It is necessary that a forensic investigation of CD be done."
Rawat refused to order a probe against BJP's allegations and the Congress dismissed calls for his Rawat's resignation. However, some action was taken as a result of the sting operation. His government suspended Shahid, and the Congress said that an inquiry will be completed in 60 days.
BJP's charges are being viewed as a counterattack against the Congress Party's demands for the resignation of BJP leaders involved in the Lalit Modi scandal - External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
Disrupting the monsoon season over recents scandals which have hit the BJP, the opposition has also called for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to step down over the Vyapam scam.