North Cachar scam less than anticipated: Report

Guwahati December 22

An Assam government internal enquiry report has contradicted the principal AG’s recent special investigation report. The panel had been constituted to look into the swindle of funds in North Cachar (NC) Hills Autonomous Council on November 30.

The state government enquiry report found that the amount of irregularity was lesser in extent than as it was found in the recent special investigation report of the AG.

The state government’s report found the total excess release of fund to the Council was Rs 33.03 lakh, and not Rs 11.46 lakh as had been reported by the AG in the special enquiry report.

“Year wise position (with regard to excess release of fund to the council) comes to Rs 0.39 lakh as against Rs 744.64 lakh as reported by AG for the year 2007-08 and Rs 32.64 lakh as against Rs 401.95 lakh reported by AG for the year 2008-09,” said the state government report.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi had directed the chief secretary to initiate an enquiry into the matter of excess release of Rs 11.46 crore to North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC) by the government over the budget provisions; as reported in the inspection report of the principal AG audit, Assam.

The recent special audit report by the AG had testified the financial irregularity and proved that funds in excess of budgetary allocation were sent to the NCHAC in 2007-08 to June 2009.

“During the course of enquiry, the report received from the NCHAC has been scrutinised with the available records namely the budget documents including supplementary demands and the information received from hill areas department and other departments concerned. From the final position emerging out of the enquiry, it appears that instead of Rs 1146.59 lakh excess release as reported by AG audit, the excess release is only Rs 33.03 lakh,” the report said.

The alleged Rs 1,000 crore financial irregularity in NC Hills is fast becoming into a political albatross for the ruling Congress party in Assam. With assembly polls due early next year, the multi-crore scam has heated up the political environment in the state.

The main opposition party, the AGP, has started training its guns at the Congress and had levelled charges that Gogoi was involved in the scam, as he holds the finance portfolio, thus preventing him from taking any action against seven cabinet ministers who too are alleged to be involved in the scam.