The Assam government will consider approaching a government investigation agency to probe alleged financial irregularities in the NRC exercise once a final audit of the same by the AG is competed, state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters on Saturday.
“After receiving these queries in 2017, Hajela (then state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela) had sent back some replies. But three days ago, the AG’s office sent back another letter saying they were not satisfied with the answers and would do further audit of the office of the NRC state coordinator,” Sarma said.
He said that after receiving the final audit, the government would assess the importance of the extent of the irregularities and take further action.
The Indian Express reported earlier this week that an inspection report related to a partial audit of the NRC exercise from 2013 to 2017 by the office of the Accountant General (Audit) had raised questions regarding multiple instances of alleged “financial irregularities and impropriety” in the exercise.
These queries were sent to the office of the NRC state coordinator and a copy was sent to the state finance department. They were sent with a request to Hajela for a reply within a month. A document containing key observations of the inspection report was leaked to the media by government sources on Thursday. “It was an interim audit report,” a finance department official told The Indian Express.
However, a source had told this newspaper, “Each objection raised in the inspection was countered (by Hajela’s office)… Someone is trying to short-circuit the process by leaking this report and score political points.”
On the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Sarma said Home Minister Amit Shah’s conversation with civil society groups had a positive effect and the scale of protests were less than expected. Meanwhile, sporadic protests were held across the state against CAB and the North East Students’ Organisation, a body of students’ groups of the Northeast, called for a shutdown Tuesday.