Twitter is afire with a war of words between Union Minister of State V. Muraleedharan and Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram and former minister Shashi Tharoor over the disbursal of Rs.1 crore in MP-LADS funds towards either research into coronavirus test kits or their purchase.
Mr. Muraleedharan, posting the response to a RTI (right to information) query over Mr. Tharoor’s claim of donating Rs 1 crore to a medical research institute in his constituency of Thiruvananthapuram.
“RTI plea busted @INCKerala MP @ShashiTharoor’s claim of donating Rs 1 Cr. MPLADS fund to @sctimst_tvm. They did not receive the fund either for R&D or for purchase of test kits. Stop #Lying!” Mr. Muraleedharan tweeted, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President JP Nadda in his post.
Retorting to the tweet Mr. Tharoor tweeted:
“A scurrilous tweet by a BJP MOS, V Muraleedharan , accusing me of “lying” about donating 1 crore to the Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute for Medical Sciences (SCTIMST) in #Thiruvananthapuram, prompts this detailed clarification. The grant was authorised on 30 March before GOI suspended MPLADS funds.
He further wrote, “Given the institution’s strong history of path-breaking innovation and the calibre of its scientists, I was confident that this would be successful and allocated this amount to the institute as the attachment shows.
“Subsequently District administration (nodal agency for MPLAD distribution) and Institute administration requested me to give the same amount as funding against purchase. Why? The Government’s own revised MPLAD guidelines did not allow support of development and so only purchase could be authorised. Accordingly, an allotment was made by letter on 30th March giving 1 crore on the understanding that SCTIMST would get the funds once kits were developed. This is straightforward but since V Muraleedhran has tagged Narendra Modi and Amit Shah perhaps they can provide an answer to my next questions.”
For over 2 months kits developed by Government owned SCTIMST & RGCB, Kerala’s premier institutes, have been pending GOI approval. On the other hand, private labs had their kits approved in a matter of days. Can any of you explain why our institutes have been kept waiting for this long?
And surely even V Muraleedharan can understand that for funds to be disbursed, purchase needs to be made; for purchase, production needs to start; and for production you need to convince your Government to support our institutes and approve their kits, instead of sitting on Twitter?
If GOI’s argument is that the SCTIMST kits are not yet ready for production and therefore the Collector cannot authorise the release of the Rs.1 crore allotted by me on 30 March, then why is a GOI Minister attacking me publicly for something his Government has been delaying,” Mr Tharoor asked
Hitting out at the BJP for its shameful pattern: it fails to perform and then it attacks the Opposition for allegedly not doing the Government’s job. The cretinous tweet by V Muraleedhran is merely the latest example of this. He should apologise for accusing me of lying when I’ve been fully transparent.”
Shashi Tharoor ended his tweet with a question for Mr, Muraleedharan, asking if either he or his colleagues could explain what happened to the Rs.7,900 crore in suspended MP-LAD funds.