Rahul Gandhi flays PM Modi
The suicide by an army veteran over OROP on Wednesday snowballed into a huge political show with Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other opposition leaders attacking the Modi government on the issue while there was high drama after police detained and prevented them from entering a hospital.
The Congress Vice President was detained twice and was finally released late in the evening as restrictions were put on Kejriwal’s movements before he was briefly detained. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was kept in custody for close to 10 hours.
The leaders were detained when they tried to meet the family of Ram Kishan Grewal, 70, an ex-serviceman who ended his life on Tuesday by consuming poison on the lawns of a government building at Janpath in the heart of the national capital.
In a scathing attack on the Modi government, Rahul said the Delhi police’s action was symbolic of “undemocratic” mentality of the NDA dispensation, while Kejriwal called the situation worse than Emergency and accused the Prime Minister of being guilty of “deceit” and indulging in “lies” over the One Rank-One Pension(OROP) issue.
Grewal was OROP recipient: Defence Minister
Ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal, who allegedly committed suicide over OROP, was one of the recipients of benefits under the revised pension scheme, Defence Ministry sources said on Wednesday as his death sent political temperature soaring in the national capital.
However, Ministry sources said Grewal had received a lesser amount as part of the One Rank-One Pension scheme under the 6th pay commission due to an error in calculation by the SBI bank branch in Bhiwani district of Haryana, a matter which was being looked into. They said the deceased former soldier had not sought an appointment with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar either at his office or home. Meanwhile, Parrikar on Wednesday asserted the government was committed to the welfare of ex-servicemen and said a total of Rs 5,507.47 crore has been disbursed under the scheme.
Giving details of the OROP implementation so far, Parrikar said there were 20,63,763 beneficiaries before July 2014. He said 19,12,520 pensioners have been paid the first instalment and 1,50,313 cases are pending verification and authentication of beneficiaries.
VK Singh sparks row with remarks over Grewal’s mental state
Union Minister VK Singh on Wednesday triggered a controversy when he said the “mental state” of the ex-serviceman who committed alleged suicide over OROP needs to be probed before drawing conclusions about his extreme action.
“He has committed suicide. No one knows the reason behind it. OROP is being shown as the reason. What his mental state was we do not know. Let it be probed first. OROP should be kept above politics,” Singh told reporters, while reacting to alleged suicide by army veteran Ram Kishan Grewal.
He went on to state that the Centre had accepted the long-pending demands of the agitating veterans and there was no need to get into “what one is saying for 4 paisa.”
Singh’s comments drew sharp reactions from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Congress.
Sisodia alleges ‘undeclared Emergency’
After hours of detention, police on Wednesday night freed Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who alleged that an “undeclared Emergency” had been imposed in the capital.
Speaking to the media after walking out of the Parliament Street police station, Sisodia hit out at the central government for detaining him and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“When a former soldier commits suicide in Delhi, is it not my moral and administrative duty to go and meet the family?” the Aam Aadmi Party leader asked. “What is wrong with that? “Why were we detained? For what? This is an undeclared Emergency,” he added.
Sisodia was the first to be detained after he went to meet the family of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal, who committed suicide on Tuesday evening demanding implementation of the OROP scheme.