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Jharkhand firing: In politics over land, a letter adds a new twist

Protesters against land acquisition had clashed with police trying to take away Saw’s wife Nirmala Devi, an MLA.

Written by Prashant Pandey | Ranchi |
October 6, 2016 1:20:38 am
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Prashant Pandey

Former Congress minister Yogendra Saw, arrested for allegedly inciting the violence in Hazaribagh that led to police firing and the death of four bystanders, has got embroiled in another controversy with the emergence of a letter he purportedly wrote seeking sub-contracting work for his son from the main contractor in the the National Thermal Power Corporation’s Pakri-Barwadih coal project.

This very project is at the centre of the agitation. Protesters against land acquisition had clashed with police trying to take away Saw’s wife Nirmala Devi, an MLA.

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The BJP took up the letter to target the jailed Congress leader while Saw’s son Ankit Raj disowned the letter as having been written by his father. He said he would consult Saw in jail and move court for defamation. The signature on the letter doing the rounds was fake, he said.

The purported letter, dated January this year, is on the letter pad of Yogendra Saw, former minister. It requests Triveni Earth Movers Private Limited, a Tamil Nadu-based company and a mine-developer-cum-operator (MDO), to get in touch with Ankit Raj, MD of Ashtbhuji Mining, in connection with sub-contracting work to the tune of 30-35 million cubic metres of removing overburden, besides transportation etc. The letter dwells on the backwardness of his area and assures “harmonious” development in tandem with the MDO.

“I too have come across the letter. The signature is not that of my father,” said Raj, Saw’s only son. “Moreover, there is no company called Ashtbhuji Mining. I am a student of law from Vinoba Bhave University but I have never been an official of any company. In fact, I am not even in politics.” Raj said the family runs a small brick-making company in Barkagaon. “We are ineligible for mining.”

State BJP vice-president Rakesh Prasad issued a statement attacking Saw over the letter. “The letter makes it clear that Saw was trying to get a good deal for his son, while claiming to be champion of the poor,” Prasad said. He added that it was Congress that had created problems relating to displacement and was now places obstacles on the path of development.

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