Bora back, leaner and fitter

Guwahati, Jan 6 : Former minister Ripun Bora, who was in judicial custody on charges of trying to bribe the CBI to hush up the Daniel Topno murder case, today turned as many heads in the Assembly as the combined Opposition’s bid to embarrass Dispur over the law and order situation.
Having missed the last and brief session of the Assembly in July, the former education minister stepped into the limelight by attending the proceedings on the opening day today.
After his arrest on June 3, he was in jail till August 6, 2008. Though it is too early to say whether he would be able to become the force he once was, the manner in which he was welcomed by most ruling and Opposition members as well as a section of officials should have come as a huge relief to the Gohpur MLA, who remains suspended from the party till further orders.
Opinions during the tea party after the governor’s address, which he attended, varied from it-was-his-bad-luck-to-have-get-caught to the not-guilty-until-proved lines. He sat beside parliamentary secretary Dilder Rezza in the front row.
The sense of relief was evident when the leaner and fitter former minister said before leaving the House that he was very happy to be back, particularly thankful for the warm welcome he received from colleagues.
One of the busiest and best performing ministers before his brush with the law, Bora said he was now exclusively concentrating on his constituency. Though there is no provision to stop Bora from attending the House as long as he is the legislator or as long there is no adverse court verdict, the Gohpur MLA had moved the Assembly Secretariat on November 5 to apprise the ethics committee of the Assembly about the status of his case.
The committee, in its report tabled today, declined to comment as the matter was sub judice. According to Bora’s three-page letter to the Assembly, “The CBI has filed the preliminary chargesheet. The case could not proceed further as the CBI has not yet furnished the entire documents and evidence in support of the chargesheet. After my bail, three dates had been fixed on which I appeared but the CBI has taken time from the court for submission of documents. The next date has been fixed on November 20.”
Bora said his political opponents had “hatched a conspiracy to finish him politically” after the state CID gave him a clean chit in the Topno case and that they had used the Calcutta-based DSP of CBI, A.B. Gupta, for the purpose.
Giving details of the circumstances leading to his arrest on June 3, Bora said in his letter that he went to meet Gupta to Jucas Inn in Delhi as he thought it would be only prudent to co-operate with the CBI as a law-abiding citizen even though he was hesitant.
“I was hesitant to accompany him to his room as I had to return to Guwahati by the next available flight. I requested Gupta to fix another day. At that point of time some 10-12 CBI personnel pounced on me. They forcefully took me to Gupta’s room where they brought out bundles of currency notes and took photographs of the scene.”