CBI probing 8 cases of irregularities

R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, May 10 – The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating into eight cases of financial irregularities in North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council and the Bureau is likely to take up one more case shortly. However, completion of the investigation may take some more time.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the CBI has registered only the cases handed over to it by the Assam Government. The State Government first handed over five specific cases to the CBI and only recently, three more cases relating to the departments of Health, Forest and Social Welfare have been handed over to the agency. Sources revealed that the CBI is in the process of taking over another case of financial irregularities in implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the Hill district.

Commenting on the progress of investigation, official sources revealed that the relevant papers are being scrutinised and examination of the accused as well as others is in progress. Sources said that political leaders including a former Chief Executive Member (CEM) and Executive Members of the NC Hills Autonomous Council have been examined. Several officers and contractors have also been examined and the process is yet to be completed and it would take some time to complete the investigations. However, the CBI is yet to take any decision on examining Ministers and former Ministers as reported in a section of the media, sources added.

It may be mentioned here that the financial scam in NC Hills was one of the worst to hit the State in recent times and a special audit by the office of the Auditor General also highlighted a number of glaring financial irregularities. Though the State Government was initially reluctant to hand over the investigations to the CBI, it decided to do so following advice from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Though Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi assured in a Press conference that the CBI would be asked to investigate all the irregularities pointed out by the Special Audit by the office of the AG, initially only five specific cases of financial irregularities were handed over to the Central agency and later four more cases were given.

The AG audit also pointed out mismatch between the funds allocated and released to the Council but the role of the Finance Department is yet to be probed and the CBI has not been asked to probe into the matter so far. Similarly, the role of the Hill Areas Development Department in the irregularities has also not been brought under the purview of the CBI probe as of now.

Official sources revealed that the CBI has been probing into only the specific cases handed over to it by the State Government and its mandate is very limited.