Gogoi offers to quit as fight with Mahanta escalates

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Guwahati, Oct 16 (UNI) The verbal duel between Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta turned ugly with the former offering to quit if charges made against him that he had influenced the CBI to protect some of his ministers proved true.

''If former Chief Minister Mahanta can prove that I had ever tried to influence CBI politically in my entire public life, I shall not only leave Chief Ministership but also politics. But if he cannot, then Mr Mahanta must also give up his political career,'' he told newsmen here today at the sidelines of a government function relating to the International Food Day.

The verbal duel started yesterday when Mr Mahanta alleged that Mr Gogoi had called in two senior CBI officials to Assam House at New Delhi and instructed them to save two of his serving cabinet ministers.

''He did it in my case also when he tried to influence former CBI Director R S Sharma to go against me in the LOC scam. But nothing could be proved in the court of law,'' said Mr Mahanta.

But Mr Mahanta did not name the ministers whom Mr Gogoi had tried to save. He also alleged that there were other ministers who were involved in murders and ''even the documents were destroyed to hush up the case.'' Mr Mahanta was retaliating the attack from Congress that he was involved in both the LOC scam as well as secret killings episode. It was Congress general secretary Haren Das who accused him of the charges yesterday.

''The whole world knows that Mr Mahanta is involved in LOC and secret killings. In fact, the judicial commissioner also said that.

Now, he is resorting to lie to level charges against me. The people of Assam have long realised that Mr Mahanta is nothing but a compulsive liar,'' he said.

Mr Gogoi also did not give any importance to the unification of the AGP saying that it would only help the Congress. ''They were unified in the past also but still they could not do anything to the Congress. They have joined hands to disintegrate only,'' said Mr Gogoi.

The AGP united earlier this week bringing together all its splinter forces while aligning with the BJP for the coming Lok Sabha polls.

UNI MT KK GL RK1718

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