By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, Sep 19: Making a serious charge, Trinamool Congress (TMC) parliamentary party chief Mukul Sangma told the Assembly on Tuesday that Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma is a close associate of an alleged drug kingpin from Mizoram and that his entry into a high-profile event in New Delhi was arranged by the Chief Minister’s Office.
Conrad rubbished the allegation. He said it is ridiculous to jump the gun based on a photograph where two persons are seen together. He said it is an illogical way of proving anything in today’s world.
Mukul had made the charge while taking part in a motion, moved by VPP’s Ardent Basaiawmoit, on the menace of drugs and substance abuse in the state.
Putting forth his views, the TMC stalwart said, “Everybody has to be under the scanner including ourselves, officers who are expected to take care of this very challenging task and dislocate the momentum of the rampant availability of drugs.”
“It might sometimes hurt us if we say, my dear friends, take care of your associate. Take care of (the person/persons) with whom you are so close sometimes…” Mukul said.
Stating that they ought to be more careful as politicians, he said, “We have also to be careful about the people we meet, people who travel with us and who come to join us in our parties because they might take advantage of their association with us.”
Expressing his concerns over the alleged association of people in authority with drug peddlers, he said, “Now I am very disturbed and I am sure everybody will be by this very fact. One of our colleagues in INC, who happened to be an MLA from Mizoram, his son got arrested and it was carried by many national newspapers.”
Reading out excerpts from the news item, he said, “A commerce graduate from Mizoram has been arrested with the seizure of Rs 6 crore worth banned tablets allegedly from the son of a Congress MLA. Henry Lalremsanga, whom police described as the kingpin of the gang, was arrested…along with Arvind Ahuja, son of former MLA Ashok Ahuja…”
“It is more disturbing to me when I came across another vital information that said he is one of the close associates of none other than our Chief Minister Conrad Sangma,” Mukul said.
“This is the photograph of the Chief Minister, his wife and Henry in one of the very high-profile programmes in Delhi,” Mukul said showing a photograph where they were seated together.
Stating that he tried to find out how Henry managed to find a space in such a high-profile event, he said, “I was informed that his sitting arrangement was requested by the Chief Minister’s Office.”
“Therefore, what I am trying to say is that we have to be really careful who we associate with. Otherwise, if these people are travelling with us, they will have access to the same convoy – Z plus category – and such events,” he added.
“I am happy to bring this to the notice of the Chief Minister. Let him go through and scan the person concerned,” the TMC leader said, adding, “Please do not get offended for alerting the dispensation.”
Defending his position, the CM said members of the House are public figures and they often meet, sit and click pictures with millions of people.
“I think connecting two individual activities and then, coming to a conclusion based on a photograph is the most illogical conclusion that anybody can jump to,” he said.
“It has to be based on evidence of what activities were taking place. I have no clue what these activities were,” Conrad told reporters after the Assembly session.
He lamented that a conclusion was drawn to try and implicate him to something based on a photograph. He said if there was indeed something serious, it would have come in the public domain and become a big issue. “Finding a photograph of two individuals, especially on social media, and coming to the conclusion that the two are involved in something is a very wrong conclusion to jump to,” he said.
“Does the court or the police case, whatever was filed, have Conrad Sangma’s name in it? I think that is the precise question. Were we called for any discussion or if any kind of case was filed against us?” he asked.
Stating that if he starts browsing the internet, he will find millions of pictures of many other people sitting with many other people, he said, “I don’t think this is a correct way to look at it. It is sad that a person of his level has brought in a photograph and jumped to a conclusion…In today’s world, it is the most ridiculous way of proving anything.”
He said he clicks picture with random people on the streets.
“I am the more approachable and accessible person and I take pictures with whoever wants to. Somehow that person turns out to be a terrorist and I become a sympathiser of that person,” he said.
“But as a public figure, we have such occasions and we take pictures. I think that should not be based as evidence of me or whoever being involved in any kind of activity,” he added.