Uttarakhand CM vows to end corruption in hill state

There is no political motive behind our decision to go against corruption, says Trivendra Singh Rawat.

New Delhi: Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Sunday vowed to end corruption in the hill state, saying “scams” that took place during the previous Congress government would be probed.

Mr Rawat said there would be no “witch-hunt” but if any politician was found to be involved in corruption, a proper investigation would be carried out and action would be taken as per law.

“There is no political motive behind our decision to go against corruption. We want to end corruption in Uttarakhand. If any politician is found to be involved in corruption in the past, law will take its own course,” he said.

The chief minister said the BJP government had decided to go after the liquor and mining mafia and the illegal slaughter houses operating in the state.

Mr Rawat said if any “scam” under the previous government came to light, a proper investigation would be carried out and the guilty would be punished.

“We have zero tolerance towards corruption. But there will be no witch-hunt. Only proper investigation will be carried out to punish the guilty,” he said.    

The Rawat government has claimed to have unearthed an alleged scam of Rs 240 crore in the acquisition of land for a national highway.

“We have already handed over the probe to the CBI. Six officials, allegedly involved in the scam, have been suspended while legal action will be taken against the seventh who is retired,” he said.

Alleged irregularities were detected in the acquisition of farmland for the proposed NH-74 in Udham Singh Nagar district between 2011-2016.

Farmland was allegedly shown as non-agricultural land to increase the compensation amount by at least 20 times to benefit chosen stakeholders and beneficiaries, he said.

Mr Rawat was sworn-in as chief minister of Uttarakhand on March 18 after the BJP won 57 of the 70 Assembly seats, ousting the Congress.

“We have completely stopped illegal mining and action is also being taken against liquor mafia. All illegal slaughter houses are also being shut down,” Mr Rawat said.

The chief minister said in nine hill districts in Uttarakhand, liquor shops were now open for six hours as against 12 hours earlier.

Two per cent extra cess has been imposed on alcohol in the state and the money collected through it would be spent on welfare programmes for women, he said.