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Former Assam chief minister’s son granted bail in loan-default case

“His lawyers have informed me that bail has been granted and he will be out in some time… We will have more information soon,” Debabrata Saikia, his elder brother and Leader Of Opposition in Assam Assembly, told indianexpress.com.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: November 8, 2021 9:06:17 pm
Ashok Saikia, son of former chief minister Hiteshwar Saikia, was granted bail by a special CBI court in Guwahati.

A day after he was arrested by the CBI in connection with a 25-year-old alleged loan-default case, Ashok Saikia, son of former chief minister Hiteshwar Saikia, was granted bail by a special CBI court in Guwahati.

“His lawyers told me that bail has been granted,” Ashok’s elder brother and Leader Of Opposition in Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, told indianexpress.com on Monday morning.

“The court was satisfied with what I had to say, and I was granted bail,” said Ashok, speaking to reporters after his release on Monday afternoon.

Ashok, a businessman in his fifties, was arrested from his residence on Sunday evening for allegedly defaulting on a loan worth Rs 9.37 lakh from the Assam State Cooperative and Agriculture Development (ASCARD) bank in 1996, for which bank employees filed a case in 1998. The case was shifted to the CBI in 2006.

In a statement on Sunday, Ashok said he had proof to show the loan was repaid through a “compromised settlement scheme”. “I repaid the loan in 2011 and as proof, the bank issued a certificate in October 2015, stating that all dues were settled,” he said.

Debabrata shared a notice on ASCARD letterhead, dated October 28, 2015, and signed by the bank’s general manager in-charge which said all dues — both principal and interest — were fully repaid, and the loan liquidated.

“Before the CBI arrived, I did not receive any notice from its officers or the CBI court. Only the government or the CBI can say why I have been arrested in such a baseless case,” the statement added.

Ashok told reporters that he “cooperated” with CBI officials. “It seems I was to be present for a hearing on October 8 or 9. However, I was unaware so I did not attend the hearing. If I had known I would have gone,” he said.

“My brother never absconded; he was at home… He never received any notice but officials arrived at his home and asked him to go with them and it turned out to be an arrest. He should have at least been intimated before. There is no merit in this case,” Debabrata said.

On being asked if there was a political conspiracy behind the arrest, Debabrata said he did not want to comment. “However, what I can say is that the government is always up to intimidation tactics. There are so many defaulters, who are scot-free. But here is a man who has paid his dues but was still taken to jail,” he said.

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