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Absconder held in Rs 121-cr construction workers� fund scam

By STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 24 - Anti-corruption sleuths today arrested Gautam Baruah, the prime absconding accused in the case related to misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 121 crore of Assam Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, Guwahati (ABOCWWB).

Baruah, who was arrested from a rented accommodation in New Delhi, has held the position as the officiating chairman of the Assam Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, Guwahati (ABOCWWB), from 2011 to 2017. He was absconding and evading arrest.

The case was registered on the basis of a complaint lodged by Tapan Sarma, the then Labour Commissioner cum Member Secretary of Assam Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, Guwahati (ABOCWWB), about the forgery and large scale misappropriation of board funds, by his predecessor Member Secretary and Chairman. On the basis of an inquiry conducted by the CM�s Special Vigilance Cell in 2017, a case was registered.

ADGP (vigilance and anti-corruption) Anurag Tankha said that during investigation, it has been established that there was a criminal conspiracy by IAS officer Chohan Doley, the then Member Secretary of ABOCWWB, Gautam Baruah, the then chairman of ABOCWWB, Nagendra Nath Choudhury, the then administrative officer, ABOCWWB and Priyangshu Boiragi, proprietor of M/s Purbashree Printing House. The criminal conspiracy resulted in misappropriation of the funds of more than Rs 121 crore, from the fund accumulated through the collection of cess of the ABOCWWB in the bank account.

The accused Chohan Doley, Nagendra Nath Choudhury and Priyangshu Boiragi, were arrested in the year 2017 and a chargesheet was filed for their involvement in the crime in the year 2018. However, the chairman of the ABOCWWB, Gautam Baruah had absconded and evaded arrest, since the registration of the case in the year 2017.

Tankha said despite repeated notices to appear before investigation, Gautam Baruah evaded the investigating agency and absconded along with his wife, from usual place of stay in Guwahati, since 2017. A non-bailable warrant of arrest had also been issued last year against him, by the Special Court in Guwahati. Process of attachment of his properties had also been initiated to compel his appearance before investigation. A cash reward of Rs 1 lakh had also been announced by the CM�s Special Vigilance Cell, for any information leading to his arrest.

The CM�s Special Vigilance Cell investigation team had been in close liaison with Delhi Police for over one year, in tracking the absconder, after getting inputs regarding his whereabouts in New Delhi, last year. On getting close, a team of officers had been camping in New Delhi for the last five days, when the location was tracked to the North East Guest House, in the Krishna Nagar area of Safdarjung Enclave in New Delhi. The surveillance teams were launched with assistance of Delhi Police Crime Branch and the accused was identified and detained and brought to local police station of Crime Branch PS at Daryaganj, where he was arrested by the investigating officer of the case.

The arrested accused will be produced before a local court in New Delhi tomorrow, for seeking transit remand for bringing him to Guwahati.

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Absconder held in Rs 121-cr construction workers� fund scam

GUWAHATI, Feb 24 - Anti-corruption sleuths today arrested Gautam Baruah, the prime absconding accused in the case related to misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 121 crore of Assam Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, Guwahati (ABOCWWB).

Baruah, who was arrested from a rented accommodation in New Delhi, has held the position as the officiating chairman of the Assam Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, Guwahati (ABOCWWB), from 2011 to 2017. He was absconding and evading arrest.

The case was registered on the basis of a complaint lodged by Tapan Sarma, the then Labour Commissioner cum Member Secretary of Assam Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, Guwahati (ABOCWWB), about the forgery and large scale misappropriation of board funds, by his predecessor Member Secretary and Chairman. On the basis of an inquiry conducted by the CM�s Special Vigilance Cell in 2017, a case was registered.

ADGP (vigilance and anti-corruption) Anurag Tankha said that during investigation, it has been established that there was a criminal conspiracy by IAS officer Chohan Doley, the then Member Secretary of ABOCWWB, Gautam Baruah, the then chairman of ABOCWWB, Nagendra Nath Choudhury, the then administrative officer, ABOCWWB and Priyangshu Boiragi, proprietor of M/s Purbashree Printing House. The criminal conspiracy resulted in misappropriation of the funds of more than Rs 121 crore, from the fund accumulated through the collection of cess of the ABOCWWB in the bank account.

The accused Chohan Doley, Nagendra Nath Choudhury and Priyangshu Boiragi, were arrested in the year 2017 and a chargesheet was filed for their involvement in the crime in the year 2018. However, the chairman of the ABOCWWB, Gautam Baruah had absconded and evaded arrest, since the registration of the case in the year 2017.

Tankha said despite repeated notices to appear before investigation, Gautam Baruah evaded the investigating agency and absconded along with his wife, from usual place of stay in Guwahati, since 2017. A non-bailable warrant of arrest had also been issued last year against him, by the Special Court in Guwahati. Process of attachment of his properties had also been initiated to compel his appearance before investigation. A cash reward of Rs 1 lakh had also been announced by the CM�s Special Vigilance Cell, for any information leading to his arrest.

The CM�s Special Vigilance Cell investigation team had been in close liaison with Delhi Police for over one year, in tracking the absconder, after getting inputs regarding his whereabouts in New Delhi, last year. On getting close, a team of officers had been camping in New Delhi for the last five days, when the location was tracked to the North East Guest House, in the Krishna Nagar area of Safdarjung Enclave in New Delhi. The surveillance teams were launched with assistance of Delhi Police Crime Branch and the accused was identified and detained and brought to local police station of Crime Branch PS at Daryaganj, where he was arrested by the investigating officer of the case.

The arrested accused will be produced before a local court in New Delhi tomorrow, for seeking transit remand for bringing him to Guwahati.

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