GUWAHATI, Aug 29 - As many as 343 Class I gazetted officers of the Agricultural department, apprehending arrests in connection with the agricultural lime scam, have been allowed interim anticipatory bail till today.
The matter relates to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Police Station Case No. 56/2015 registered under Sections 120(B) (criminal conspiracy)/420 (cheating)/406 (criminal breach of trust)/409(criminal breach of trust by public servant which is punishable with life imprisonment, etc).
It was on September 12, 2014 that the FIR was lodged by the Krishak Sramik Unnayan Parishad, Assam, before the ADGP, CID, Assam, against the officers of the Agricultural department, alleging that the Central Government had sanctioned funds for the supply of agricultural lime for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 and on a field enquiry by them, it was found that the cultivators did not receive the lime. �
On receipt of the FIR, the CID covered as many as 27 districts except Dima Hasao. During the course of the hearing of the bail petitions, it was submitted by�B Gogoi, Additional Public Prosecutor, Assam, that the investigations are complete except in two districts, and that there are materials to implicate the majority of the officers.
On July 30, five Agricultural officers of Goalpara district were arrested by the CID and later, two more officers of Jorhat district were taken into custody.
All these officers were granted regular bail, considering their period of detention in custody.
This development created panic in the Agricultural department and it virtually came to a standstill as most of the officers rushed to the High Court for anticipatory bail, apprehensive of the fact that if arrested and detained in custody for more than 48 hours, they would be deemed to be placed under suspension.
Bhaskar Dev Konwar, senior advocate, who represented some of the Agricultural officers in the High Court, said that �it appears that the district-level officers are not directly involved in the offence. In a district, only 10 per cent of the cultivators were selected who received lime in terms of the scheme and obviously, there would be resentment among others. These officers are not involved in the tender process or in the decision making process regarding the purchase and no payments were made by them at the district level.�