People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIV

No. 27

July 04, 2010


NC HILLS SCAM, ASSAM

 

Politicians Found in League with Extremists

 

THE Assam State committee of the CPI(M) organised a March to Raj Bhawan in Guwahati on June 25 and submitted a memorandum to the governor, J B Patnaik, demanding a fair inquiry into the financial irregularities and scams to the tune of Rs 1000 crore in the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council.

 

Defying the scorching sun and sweltering heat, hundreds of CPI(M) protesters assembled near the Judges' Field in the city and marched towards the Raj Bhawan. The procession was led by CPI(M) state secretary Uddhab Barman, Central Committee member Hemen Das and other senior leaders. The police created a barricade in front of the Raj Bhawan and prevented the slogan shouting volunteers from entering the campus. Later a six-member delegation of the party, comprising Uddhab Barman, Hemen Das, Isfaqur Rahman, Ajit Das, Purno Boro and Tiken Das, met the governor and submitted their memorandum. The governor gave a patient hearing and assured the CPI(M) delegation that he would consider the demands raised by the party.

 

The memorandum submitted by the Assam state committee of the CPI(M) sought to draw the governorís attention to the huge corruption and financial irregularities in the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council and asked for his prompt intervention in this regard. In fact, in the media and outside, there have been reports of large scale financial irregularities and scams in the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council. to the tune of Rs 1000 crore. During the process of investigation into the politician-extremist nexus in the NC Hills Council, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) exposed the magnitude of huge scandals. Earlier, the report of the Justice R K Manisana Singh commission of inquiry, tabled in the state assembly in December 2008, also laid bare the nexus between politicians and extremists in the NC Hills. The alleged involvement of a section of ministers in the corruption scandals has added a new dimension to the whole affair.

 

The recent recovery of Rs 13.45 crore by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the residence of a relative of R H Khan, one of the key accused in the case of alleged fund diversion from the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council to the extremist outfits, has highlighted the magnitude of the irregularities and the consequent deprivation of the common people of the fruits of development. The recovery has proved that huge amounts of public money were indeed siphoned off in this hill district. The series of scandals has shocked the entire state and protests are also being mounted against the embezzlement of public fund by the nexus of a section of politicians, corrupt officials and extremists. Popular demands are being raised to unearth the whole scandal and to bring the culprits to book.

 

While expressing grave shock and concern at this appalling state of affairs, the Assam state unit of the CPI(M) firmly asserted that the recovery of Rs 13.45 crore by the CBI is just a tip of the iceberg. What is more shocking, the Tarun Gogoi led government has reportedly been trying to conceal the facts and shield the culprits responsible for misappropriation of government funds. While sincere attempts need to be made to go into the root of corruption in the NC Hills Autonomous Council, the CBI has been given the responsibility of investigating into only five specific cases of irregular withdrawal of funds in five departments of the council. If the government is really serious about unearthing the magnitude of the scam, it must entrust the CBI with the responsibility of investigating the financial dealings by all the departments of the council. However, the state government has refused to do so.

 

It was in these circumstances that the Assam state committee of the CPI(M) solicited the governorís intervention so that the huge corruption scandals in the NC Hills Council are unravelled and the culprits responsible for embezzlement of public funds brought to book in the least possible time.

 

In this connection, the CPI(M) raised the following demands through its memorandum to the governor:

 

1) A free and fair probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), without any political interference, into the multi-crore rupee scam in the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council.

 

2) Widening the scope of the CBI inquiry so that the bureau is entrusted with the responsibility of investigating into all the financial irregularities and massive corruption in all the departments in the NC Hills, that took place Council since the year 2001 onwards.

 

        3) Foiling and frustrating the attempts to cover-up the misdeeds and misappropriation of development funds by the politician-extremist nexus. Proper and fair inquiry must be instituted to identify the ministers and political leaders, along with the corrupt officials, who are allegedly involved in diversion and embezzlement of the funds meant of developmental activities in the Dima Hasao district.

 

4) The central and state governments must evolve a mechanism to ensure that strict financial discipline is maintained by the autonomous council.