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Harish Rawat's full page ad on sting probe lands in new controversy

A fresh controversy is afoot in Uttarakhand’s political corridors on account of a recent full-page advertisement, published in a few regional dailies, which has CM Harish Rawat thanking the people for their support and pleading innocence vis-a-vis bribery allegations triggered by a sting video.

The ad, issued by Uttarakhand’s state information department, was published a day before Rawat was summoned by the CBI for interrogation in the sting probe. Addressed to the “brothers and sisters of Uttarakhand”, it has Rawat claiming that at a time when the state is grappling with forest fires, drought and a water crisis, he is “deliberately being entangled in a CBI probe”. “The CBI is being used to lower my image in your eyes. I have neither given money to buy any MLA nor proposed to do so. Some people simply tried to take advantage of my respect for journalism… to stage a conspiracy against me.”

On Saturday, BJP, the opposition in the state, accused Rawat of “misusing public money” and demanded that a case be registered against him and the director general of information and public relations for taking issuing an ad aimed at “personal image-building” in violation of an Supreme Court directive.

“Issuing ads in public interest is fine. But… where is the public’s interest in spending almost Rs 1 crore of taxpayers’ money on an ad that is more like an election poster?” BJP spokesperson Munna Singh Chauhan said.

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