Records show Assam CM Sarma’s wife’s media firm secured Rs 10cr farmers' subsidytext_fields
Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is alleged to have used his influence to secure a government subsidy, which is meant for agro-food processing, of Rs 10 crore for his wife’s media company, Pride East Entertainment Private Limited.
The subsidy was reportedly granted under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampad Yojanas agro-processing clusters programme for a project valued at Rs 25.88 crore.
Gaurav Gogoi, a Congress MP, criticized the alleged misuse of government funds, stating that the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampad Yojanas scheme was intended to benefit Indian farmers. He questioned whether central government schemes were being exploited for political enrichment.
Riniki Bhuyan Sarma, the wife of Chief Minister Sarma, is the majority shareholder in the company, which owns two news channels, a newspaper, a digital portal, and several entertainment channels. The company has also expanded its operations to include silk production and food processing.
The controversy was initially brought to light by a Guwahati-based news portal, The CrossCurrent, which revealed that Riniki Bhuyan Sarma assumed a significant role in the company in 2018. Presently, she, along with her son, mother-in-law, and Bhaskar Sarma, serve as directors of the company.
Chief Minister Sarma has denied these allegations, asserting that neither his wife nor her company received any financial subsidies from the Central government. However, Gogoi countered this claim by pointing to official Ministry of Food Processing website records that clearly list Riniki Bhuyan Sarma and her company as recipients of the Rs 10 crore grant.
Pride East Entertainment Private Limited reportedly acquired a significant amount of agricultural land for a proposed food processing plant in early 2022.
Records on the Assam revenue website revealed that the land's classification was altered from agricultural to industrial—a move coinciding with plans for the food processing plant.