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Assam Rifles scam: Home Ministry to close case

By Raju Das
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SHILLONG, Jan 23 - Union Home Ministry is on the verge of closing a case of allegation leveled by an �anonymous whistle-blower� regarding a multi-crore rupees scam in Assam Rifles, as it was unable to ascertain the credential of the whistle-blower.

Sources said, the scam relates to purchase of items (ration and modern equipments) for Assam Rifles, which the whistle-blower claimed amounts to crores of rupees and top officials of the paramilitary force are involved.

The Union Ministry, instead of investigating into the allegation, went into a wild goose hunt to ascertain who made the allegation even though the whistleblower clearly mentioned in the letter that he wants to remain anonymous.

On the other hand, Assam Rifles instituted an internal departmental inquiry and gave a clean chit to itself a few months back, stating that no such wrongdoings have been found within the force.

Some of the allegations leveled by the whistle-blower are serious. Citing one example, the letter said that a litre of tetra pack milk purchased for the personnel as part of their daily ration has a vast variation with that of the Army�s rate of procurement for the item.

It said that Indian Army�s procurement rate for such tetra pack milk is Rs 54.95 (Dimapur), 55.05 (Silchar), 53.80 (Jorhat) and 57.95 (Manipur). However, the same milk is being purchased by Assam Rifles at Rs 67.95 (Dimapur), 67.86 (Silchar,) 67.86 (Jorhat) and 69.03 (Manipur).

Therefore annually, over Rs 6.30 crore was siphoned by Assam Rifles officials just in purchase of milk. Same is the case with the purchase of instant coffee in which Assam Rifles paid an excess amount of Rs 2.53 crore annually.

Moreover, modernisation equipments like �optical fiberscopes� are being purchased at pre-budgeted rates from contractors. �In some case equipments worth Rs 20,000 is being purchased at Rs 3 lakh,� the whistle-blowers said. This, the whistle-blower said, is done as the officials are getting �kickbacks� from the cartel of contractors.

Terming the Signals branch as the �hall of shame�, the letter to Army Chief, Union Home Ministry, CBI and other departments of Central Government, said that contracts are being allotted by the department at ten times the market price.

Allegations of scams in Assam Rifles are widespread and have been discussed over the years. Last year, a similar allegation was made with regards to the tendering process for the supply of clothes for uniforms of soldiers. Repeated calls to Assam Rifles seeking clarification on these issues have not yielded any result.

At the headquarters here at Laitkor, Assam Rifles personnel themselves say that allotment of stores are done whimsically and in an opaque manner. �These stores are being leased to the same persons for years. They then get their pound of flesh from us and sell items at exorbitant price from us. Many of us are forced to buy these as it�s not possible to go to the city all the time,� they said.

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Assam Rifles scam: Home Ministry to close case

SHILLONG, Jan 23 - Union Home Ministry is on the verge of closing a case of allegation leveled by an �anonymous whistle-blower� regarding a multi-crore rupees scam in Assam Rifles, as it was unable to ascertain the credential of the whistle-blower.

Sources said, the scam relates to purchase of items (ration and modern equipments) for Assam Rifles, which the whistle-blower claimed amounts to crores of rupees and top officials of the paramilitary force are involved.

The Union Ministry, instead of investigating into the allegation, went into a wild goose hunt to ascertain who made the allegation even though the whistleblower clearly mentioned in the letter that he wants to remain anonymous.

On the other hand, Assam Rifles instituted an internal departmental inquiry and gave a clean chit to itself a few months back, stating that no such wrongdoings have been found within the force.

Some of the allegations leveled by the whistle-blower are serious. Citing one example, the letter said that a litre of tetra pack milk purchased for the personnel as part of their daily ration has a vast variation with that of the Army�s rate of procurement for the item.

It said that Indian Army�s procurement rate for such tetra pack milk is Rs 54.95 (Dimapur), 55.05 (Silchar), 53.80 (Jorhat) and 57.95 (Manipur). However, the same milk is being purchased by Assam Rifles at Rs 67.95 (Dimapur), 67.86 (Silchar,) 67.86 (Jorhat) and 69.03 (Manipur).

Therefore annually, over Rs 6.30 crore was siphoned by Assam Rifles officials just in purchase of milk. Same is the case with the purchase of instant coffee in which Assam Rifles paid an excess amount of Rs 2.53 crore annually.

Moreover, modernisation equipments like �optical fiberscopes� are being purchased at pre-budgeted rates from contractors. �In some case equipments worth Rs 20,000 is being purchased at Rs 3 lakh,� the whistle-blowers said. This, the whistle-blower said, is done as the officials are getting �kickbacks� from the cartel of contractors.

Terming the Signals branch as the �hall of shame�, the letter to Army Chief, Union Home Ministry, CBI and other departments of Central Government, said that contracts are being allotted by the department at ten times the market price.

Allegations of scams in Assam Rifles are widespread and have been discussed over the years. Last year, a similar allegation was made with regards to the tendering process for the supply of clothes for uniforms of soldiers. Repeated calls to Assam Rifles seeking clarification on these issues have not yielded any result.

At the headquarters here at Laitkor, Assam Rifles personnel themselves say that allotment of stores are done whimsically and in an opaque manner. �These stores are being leased to the same persons for years. They then get their pound of flesh from us and sell items at exorbitant price from us. Many of us are forced to buy these as it�s not possible to go to the city all the time,� they said.

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