Saturday, May 25, 2024

Top 5 corruption arrests in Assam govt since 2021

Rinku Sharma

In Assam, corruption in local government has been a serious issue.  Several Assam government offices have witnessed corruption cases when it comes licensing, permits, zoning, and other bureaucratic approval procedures. A number of public servants and other authorities with discretionary power have been seen engaging in corrupt activities in order to maintain their positions of authority and make some additional money.

Corruption has been documented in Assam with regard to building permits, gun licences, zoning charges, housing tax credits, liquor licences, and other approvals. The government vigilance squad has occasionally apprehended a number of Assam government officials who have engaged in corrupt activities, especially after Himanta Biswa Sarma’s govt. came into power.

Here is a detailed list of top five corruption arrest cases in Assam since 2021:

Senior government official arrested for accepting Rs 90K bribe (October 2022)

The Home and Political Department’s Joint Secretary, ACS KK Sharma, was apprehended in October 2022 while taking Rs 90,000 from a complaint to renew a security firm license. The Assam Police’s Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (V&AC) wing arrested the official.

Later, during a search of his home by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, unaccounted cash totaling Rs. 49 lakh was found. The official was later suspended by the Assam government.


Prominent government officials arrested and cash worth Rs 2.32 crore seized (2023)

In Dhubri district, two government officials were arrested in connection with a corruption case, and Rs 2.32 crore in cash was seized from one of the officials’ residences.

Assam Civil Service (ACS) officer Biswajit Goswami, who is employed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Dhubri Zila Parishad office, was one of the two individuals detained during an operation in July, 2023. Mrinal Kanti Sarkar, a Dhubri-based additional district programme manager, was the other person arrested. As soon as Sarkar accepted Rs 30,000 as part of the demanded bribe, he was apprehended in the CEO Zila Parishad’s office chamber.

In the course of a raid, more than Rs 2.31 crore was taken from Goswami’s home in Bongaigaon and Rs 1.69 lakh was found in his official Dhubri apartment. Numerous records pertaining to real estate purchases, numerous bank accounts, various investments, etc., belonging to the accused have been taken into custody.

PWD engineer detained in bribery case and over Rs 45 lakh seized (2023)

Over Rs 45 lakh was seized from the home and government quarters of Manuj Kumar Saikia, an executive engineer in the public works department (roads & buildings) at Haflong in the Dima Hasao district in August, 2023, by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption. The engineer was detained in connection with the bribery case.

The vigilance team held the executive engineer for receiving Rs 10,000 bribe from a complainant. After the arrest, the team raided his official quarters in Haflong and his Nagaon home and found cash worth Rs. 44,51, 835 from his Nagaon property and Rs. 1,02,550 from his government quarter in Haflong.

Documents pertaining to a building and flat, several land parcels, several bank accounts, additional post office investments, bank fixed deposits, insurance policies and other items were also recovered from his residences.

Suspended ACS officer taken into custody in relation to MPLAD scam (2024)

Sukanya Borah, an Assam Civil Service (ACS) officer who had been suspended, was taken into custody in January 2024 in relation to an alleged financial scam involving the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) in Silchar. In relation to the scam, the chief minister’s Special Vigilance Cell (SVC), arrested the suspended ACS officer.

Due to her alleged involvement in suspected irregularities in the execution of MPLAD-funded projects, the officer was placed on suspension in March 2023. The financial scam involved misappropriation of funds from Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan’s MPLAD fund.

The vigilance team also discovered that Borah’s fortune had expanded unusually and that she had purchased homes in Guwahati, Morigaon, Hajo, and North Guwahati, among other places, under the names of her family members.

Two ACS officers held in land document fraud case (2024)

In two separate cases involving the land document forgery, two Assam Civil Service (ACS) officers, Lakshya Jyoti Das and Lakhyajit Duwaria, were taken into custody in February 2024.

The Crime Branch of the Guwahati City Police arrested Lakshya Jyoti Das, the additional district commissioner in Nagaon, and Lakhyajit Duwaria, an ACS officer from the 2016 batch working as deputy secretary of medical education and research department. They were arrested under charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy, and criminal breach of trust and forgery, among other pertinent offences listed in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

When they allegedly committed the crime, Lakhyajit Duwaria was a circle officer of the Guwahati Revenue Circle while Lakhyajit Duwaria was the circle officer of Dispur Revenue Circle.

Subsequently, both ACS officers were suspended in accordance with the 1964 Assam Services (Discipline & Appeal) Rules.

Although there are some who debate upon the true intention of these arrests, considering the rampant corruption in the country in the past few decades, it is definitely a small step in the right direction.

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