CBI yet to start probe into NC Hills scam
R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, April 27 – Though Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi announced the Government’s decision to hand over the case of misappropriation of huge amount of funds in the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after a hue and cry was raised in the State on the issue, investigation by the Central agency is yet to start. Interestingly, most of the organisations which launched movements demanding a CBI probe into the scam in NC Hills are also keeping quiet over the issue.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that the case is yet to be formally handed over to the Central investigating agency and till date no one is sure as to when the probe by the CBI would start to ensure action against those involved in the financial irregularities. Sources pointed out that normally the State Governments approach the Centre seeking probes by the CBI, but in this particular case the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote to the State Government advising it to go for a CBI probe, following which the State wrote to the Centre. But instead of directly asking for a CBI probe, the buck was virtually passed to the Centre.
In fact the Chief Minister , at one point of time was on record saying that there was no need for a CBI probe even after the National Investigating Agency (NIA), which probed into a case relating to politician-militant nexus in NC Hills, recommended a probe under the Prevention of Corruption Act into the misappropriation of funds by public servants in NC Hills. But the MHA wrote to the State Government on February 22 advising it to recommend a CBI probe. The MHA letter clearly stated that the letter was written with the approval of the Home Minister.
After receiving the letter and following a meeting with the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Gogoi announced in New Delhi that the State Government would go for a CBI probe into the scam and the State Government wrote a letter to the Centre in this regard on March 2.
In the letter the State Government said that during the investigation by the NIA it came to light that public servants in NC Hills were involved in misappropriation of funds, while the MHA also advised it to go for a CBI probe. “In view of the above and careful consideration of the matter, the State Government has decided to refer the matter to the Government of India for investigation of the matter of misappropriation of government funds by public servants of NC Hills and to take action as per law,” the letter said. However, official sources pointed out that instead of directly asking for a CBI probe, the State Government virtually passed the buck to the Centre.
Meanwhile, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which launched a movement demanding a CBI probe into the scam, said that it would be forced to resume the movement if the case is not handed over to the Central agency immediately.
AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said, “the Chief Minister, after a discussion with the Union Home Minister assured that the case would be handed over to the CBI. Now he should make public whether the CBI has started investigation into the case. If the CBI has not taken over the case as yet, the Chief Minister should make clear the reasons for the delay.” He said that huge amounts of public funds were siphoned off in NC Hills and the State and Central Governments must institute a thorough probe into the same to take action against those responsible. He warned that the AASU would be forced to launch a fresh movement if immediate action is not taken against those responsible.
The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) also met the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister demanding a CBI probe and party spokesman Atul Bora said that the delay in launching of a probe raised doubts on whether the Government has something to hide. He said that the issue would be discussed in the party forum soon to chalk out a future course of action.