Himachal BJP chief quits amid health scam row

Himachal Pradesh BJP president Rajeev Bindal
The Congress said that BJP cannot get rid of the "sin of corruption" in the Health Department amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Himachal Pradesh BJP president Rajeev Bindal resigned from his post on Wednesday (May 27) within four-and-a-half months of his appointment, saying he was doing so to ensure a proper investigation into the case of alleged corruption by a Health Department official.

In a resignation letter sent to BJP president J P Nadda, Bindal said he was tendering his resignation on high moral grounds as some people were dragging the party’s name in the alleged corruption by the health official.

Health Services Director Ajay Kumar Gupta was arrested on May 20 by the State Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau after a 43-second audio clip went viral, in which he purportedly asks the other person for a bribe of Rs 5 lakh. Bindal, who became state BJP president on January 18 after resigning from the post of assembly Speaker, said he had quit so that the case might be thoroughly investigated without any pressure.

Advertisement

Later, the party national president accepted his resignation, the state BJP said in a statement. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said the Opposition was trying to raise the issue unnecessarily and, therefore, Bindal resigned on his own on “moral grounds”.

The Congress said that BJP cannot get rid of the “sin of corruption” in the Health Department amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. In a joint statement, state Congress president Kuldeep Singh Rathore and legislature party leader Mukesh Agnihotri said Thakur cannot evade moral responsibility as he was also holding additional charge of Health Department.

They demanded that the probe into the scam should be entrusted to a sitting high court judge as it had no faith in the probe being conducted by the vigilance bureau. On the Oppositions allegations, the chief minister said a fair probe was being conducted and there was no need to point fingers. Stern action will definitely be taken against the culprits, Thakur added.

Bindal said the BJP had nothing to do with the alleged corruption, adding that the state government had acted promptly and took action against the health official. He said dragging the BJP’s name in the alleged case was “injustice to social service” done by the party during the coronavirus lockdown by distributing over five lakh food packets, 1.10 lakh ration kits and over 30 lakh face masks.

Meanwhile, former chief minister P K Dhumal has welcomed Bindal’s resignation.

Get breaking news and latest updates from India
and around the world on thefederal.com
FOLLOW US: