Mohet Hojai,one of the prime accused in a Rs 1,000-crore scandal in Assam’s Dima Hasao hill district and named in an NIA chargesheet,is contesting the elections from jail.
Hojai,a former chief executive member of the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council (DHAC),is currently lodged in the Guwahati Central Jail,after he was arrested in 2009,for allegedly aiding and abetting a militant group and diverting funds to it.
The scandal involves funds meant for development,of which Rs 1 crore was allegedly channelised to the DHD(J) – a militant group better known as Black Widow. The government in 2008 instituted a Commission of Enquiry into alleged collusion between militants,politicians and bureaucrats and the diversion of funds. Hojai was arrested on May 30,2009.
The scandal had remained in the headlines for several months,with Opposition parties and other pressure groups even pointing at some ministers in the Tarun Gogoi government of having benefited from it.
Hojai,who has filed his nomination as a candidate of the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC),a registered political party in Assam,is contesting from the Haflong (ST) constituency. Interestingly,while the ASDC has entered into an adjustment with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in four other seats,both have fielded candidates for Haflong.
While Hojai was arrested by the Assam Police,a charge-sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) referred to Hojai also as a member of the DHD(J). He was arrested under Sections 120(B),121 and 121(A) of the Indian Penal Code as also under Sections 16,17,18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,the NIA chargesheet said.
Mohet Hojai and the other accused public servants,along with (some) accused contractors,committed criminal misconduct and defalcated huge sums of money from the funds available with NCHAC (now DHAC),which was channelised through hawala operators in Guwahati and Kolkata to reach arms smugglers who smuggled in arms and ammunition and supplied it to DHD(J) for them to commit acts of terror and violence and to wage war against state with a view to overawe its legitimate authority, the NIA chargesheet said.
Chomang Kro,president of the ASDC,said there was nothing wrong in Hojai contesting the elections. He has not been convicted by any court of law,and there is no bar on him from contesting. His nomination papers anyway have been already found valid, Kro told The Indian Express.