Forum demands CM’s resignation over PIL

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 27 Apr: Claiming that Chief Minister Pema Khandu is Respondent No 3 in a public interest litigation (PIL) [No 52/07/SLP (C) No 31233 (2010)] in a corruption case against his late father, former chief minister Dorjee Khandu, the Arunachal Justice Forum (AJF) has demanded that the chief minister resign on moral grounds, so that fair inquiry may be conducted into the case.

In a representation it submitted to the governor, the AJF claimed that an interlocutory application was filed by AJF president Nabam Tagam and its general secretary Pumcho Tapuk on 19 April, 2021. They also filed a special leave petition on the existing PIL, which was originally filed by Borang Lama and Butey Yuto.

Addressing media persons at the Arunachal Press Club, AJF legal advisor Rigam Santana said the AJF is demanding the resignation of the chief minister “in the greater interest of the state.”

“Since there is an impending case, the chief minister cannot be treated as an ordinary person. He is holding a highest post,” said Santana, arguing that “there is an apprehension of manipulation of the case.”

Santana said that the current chief minister might not be directly involved in the corruption case, “but he might influence his father in corrupt practice.”

The AJF went on to make unsubstantiated allegations against the chief minister, including en masse illegal appointments, signing of secret memorandums of agreement (MoA) with power developers, misappropriation of Rs 24,000 crores from the PM’s package, and secretly allotting mining and minerals licences.

However, the AJF could not provide any document to substantiate their allegations. Instead, it misplaced the facts in the petition, claiming that the Pema Khandu government entered into 133 MoAs with hydropower developers without prior intimation and consent of the PRIs, village authorities and landowners, whereas the documents submitted to the Supreme Court by the AJF on the MoAs for hydropower projects were executed in 2007 and 2015, prior to Pema Khandu’s becoming the chief minister on 17 July, 2016.