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Sonowal crackdown on corruption continues: Six Social Welfare officers arrested

While six officers of the Social Welfare department were arrested on Monday night, the five officers were arrested on February 24 by the CID from different districts in connection with an alleged scandal in Agriculture department.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Updated: March 1, 2017 10:14:06 pm

 

Sarbananda Sonowal, Sonowal corruption crackdown, Sonowal corruption Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal (File Photo)

The BJP-led alliance that had promised, among other things, making Assam corruption-free, has cracked down on two departments – Social Welfare and Agriculture – with the police arresting as many as 11 officers in the past one week. This has taken the number of government officers arrested on corruption charges since Sarbananda Sonowal took charge at not less than 30.

While six officers of the Social Welfare department were arrested on Monday night by the Vigilance & Anti-Corruption wing of the Assam Police in connection with a Rs 1.50-crore scandal, the five officers were arrested on February 24 by the CID from different districts in connection with an alleged scandal in Agriculture department.

The police had registered a case (No 19/2016) following an FIR lodged by the director of the Social Welfare department in November last year that over Rs 2,250 crore was allegedly siphoned off from the state exchequer in the name of supplies and implementation of various schemes in the last 15 years.

“While the department’s complaint has mentioned of irregularities in implementation of various schemes in the past 15 years, the six officers arrested on Monday in connection with only one of the numerous irregularities,” YK Gautam, Additional DGP who heads the Assam Police V&AC wing told The Indian Express.

Those arrested on Monday night were Kamrup district social welfare officer Kishori Dutta, Goalpara district officer Hemi Barua, Accountant RS Bhattacharya, project officer Kulendra Saikia, Debasish Dey and Sajid Hussain.

The police had in November raided the head office of the Social Welfare department here, during which it had procured heaps of documents and arrested one employee and seized Rs five lakh in cash from his possession. While investigations have just started, more officers of the department are likely to be arrested in the near future.

The CID of the Assam Police on the other hand arrested five officers of the Agriculture department last week as part of its investigations being conducted on the basis of an FIR lodged by an NGO called Assam Public Works in 2014. The NGO had in its complaint alleged that over Rs 700 crore had been embezzled in the Agriculture department in implementation of various schemes under Rastriya Krishi Yikash Yojana (RKVY) and Bring Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI).

The Agriculture department officers who have been arrested are Jorhat district agriculture officer

Birendra Nath Sarma, executive engineer (HQ) Dilip Barua, executive engineer (Nagaon) Ranbir Kakati, assistant engineer Lankeswar Gam, and junior engineer Rohit Bharali.

Former minister quizzed

Meanwhile, the Assam Police, during the course of its investigations into the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) scandal on Tuesday interrogated Gautam Roy, a senior Congress leader who was former social welfare minister in the previous Tarun Gogoi government. The police however did not reveal what exactly were the charges against Roy.

Investigations in to the APSC scandal have already led to the arrest of its chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul and two members Basanta Kumar Doley and Samedur Rahman, apart from four other employees of the Commission.

The police had in January this year also interrogated Akon Bora, another senior Congress leader who had held several portfolios including that of the Social Welfare department in the erstwhile Tarun Gogoi government from 2006 to 2015.

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