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Roshan Giri files Rs 5 cr defamation case against Harka Bahadur Chhetri

Roshan Giri
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri today said a Darjeeling court has accepted a defamation suit filed by him against Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri on charges of misplaced allegations. According to Giri, last year in December, Chhetri went public accusing the GJM general secretary of asking for a 15 per cent cut from the construction work of a polytechnic college that is set to come up in Kalimpong.
Today, after receiving a court copy of Defamation Suit No.1/2016 from the civil judge (senior division), Giri briefed media persons by stating, “On December 18, 2015, he (Chhetri) had alleged that I had asked for a 15 per cent bribe from construction work of a polytechnic college in Kalimpong. This is baseless and completely false because I don’t even know the contractors who have been engaged nor when the tenders were floated.” The GJM general secretary alleged that the Kalimpong MLA had specifically said that Ujjwal Biswas, the state technical education minister, had raised the bribe issue in the Assembly on December 17, 2015. “We have gone through the proceedings of the December 17 session in the Assembly and have found no evidence of the minister having raised such an issue,” Giri asserted. He said that Chhetri, who severed ties with the GJM in September 2015, was indulging in opportunistic politics to defame him and the party by making false allegations. 
“I have, through our party lawyer, lodged a Rs5-crore defamation case against Chhetri which was today accepted by the court. I had earlier issued a notice to the MLA. This (allegation) is a ploy to gain political weightage as he has recently floated a new political party,” Giri alleged. Meanwhile, the Kalimpong MLA has been going hammer and tong after his former party, revealing inside matters including the autocratic way of functioning of GJM president BimalGurung, which Chhetri said was the reason as to why he had decided to quit the GJM. 
Chhetri, who is quite articulate, has managed to get an upper hand on the GJM over the Kalimpong district issue and has even said his outfit, Jan Andolan Party (JAP), would contest the Assembly election. The MLA has taken credit for Kalimpong being approved of as a district and Mirik as a sub-division by the state cabinet as also for bringing new educational institutes in the hills citing his closeness with the state government. However, Giri today rubbished Chhetri’s claims and saids, “All issues, be they regarding a separate district or a sub-division, the construction of educational institutes and other development projects being undertaken in the hills that Chhetri is claiming credit for, is because of the GJM. We had raised all these issues when he (Chhetri) was with us and they are also mentioned in the GTA agreement and act,” the GJM general secretary maintained.
As per the tripartite agreement, Giri said polytechnic institutes would come up in Pedong, Gorubathan and Mirik in Kalimpong and  eight similar multi-principal centres in the hills. The Kalimpong MLA, when asked for his comments on the defamation suit filed against him, countered, “The issue of graft against Giri was told to me personally by the minister. So how can it be found in the proceedings of the Assembly? Moreover, I had specifically said that it was the minister who had made the allegation.” (EOIC)

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