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CBI collecting relevant papers

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, June 2 � The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), investigating into the financial scam in North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council, has started the process of collecting the documents relating to financial management of five departments and the probe is being conducted on the basis of the report of the National Investigating Agency (NIA).

CBI sources told The Assam Tribune that the case is being investigated by the Shillong office of the Bureau and a team of officers of the Bureau are now camping in Haflong to scan the relevant documents. The zonal DIG of the CBI also visited Haflong to personally supervise the work.

Sources said that the NIA, which was entrusted with the responsibility of probing into a case of militant-politician nexus, stumbled upon documents which proved beyond doubt that large scale financial irregularities were taking place in the Autonomous Council. But as probing into the financial irregularities was not the mandate of the NIA, it suggested in the chargesheet filed in the court that the financial irregularities should be investigated into by the CBI.

Sources revealed that the NIA submitted a report to the Government on its findings on the financial scam and the CBI has started the process of investigation on the basis of that report. Sources said that in the initial stage, the CBI has started scanning the relevant documents of PWD, Public Health Engineering (PHE), Social Welfare, Soil Conservation and Agriculture as according to the report of the NIA, most of the irregularities took place in those departments.

When asked to give details of the process of investigation, CBI sources said, �we have just started the process of scanning of the documents and our officers are on the job for the last two weeks. It will take some time to complete the process of scanning the documents relating to the financial transactions of the five departments and the next phase of the investigation will start only after the completion of the process.� Sources said that the CBI would take decisions on whether any person would be questioned for their alleged involvement of the scams only on the basis of the findings of examining the documents. Sources also admitted that in such cases of financial irregularities, examining the documents is a painstaking process. But at the same time, sources asserted that it would not be possible for anyone to tamper with the documents now.

CBI sources also clarified that the Bureau has not been given any period for which the financial irregularities should be probed into and it would all depend on the findings of scanning of the available documents.

It may be mentioned here that the NIA , during the course of the investigation into the politician-militant nexus, came across documents, which proved that financial norms and regulations were flouted blatantly in the council for years and Chief Executive Members, Executive Members and even senior officials of the Government issued orders to release substantial amounts of funds on plain papers or their pads without mentioning the projects for which the money was withdrawn. Even the Governor�s secretariat issued orders for release of funds without mentioning the projects for which the money was required. Interestingly, the accounts of the Council were not audited for years and only recently, the Government initiated a process of auditing the accounts.

The financial scam in the Council led to a major political issue with the opposition parties and other organizations demanding a probe by the CBI and only after the intervention by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which advised the Assam Government to get the matter investigated by the CBI, the case was referred to the Central investigating agency.

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CBI collecting relevant papers

GUWAHATI, June 2 � The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), investigating into the financial scam in North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council, has started the process of collecting the documents relating to financial management of five departments and the probe is being conducted on the basis of the report of the National Investigating Agency (NIA).

CBI sources told The Assam Tribune that the case is being investigated by the Shillong office of the Bureau and a team of officers of the Bureau are now camping in Haflong to scan the relevant documents. The zonal DIG of the CBI also visited Haflong to personally supervise the work.

Sources said that the NIA, which was entrusted with the responsibility of probing into a case of militant-politician nexus, stumbled upon documents which proved beyond doubt that large scale financial irregularities were taking place in the Autonomous Council. But as probing into the financial irregularities was not the mandate of the NIA, it suggested in the chargesheet filed in the court that the financial irregularities should be investigated into by the CBI.

Sources revealed that the NIA submitted a report to the Government on its findings on the financial scam and the CBI has started the process of investigation on the basis of that report. Sources said that in the initial stage, the CBI has started scanning the relevant documents of PWD, Public Health Engineering (PHE), Social Welfare, Soil Conservation and Agriculture as according to the report of the NIA, most of the irregularities took place in those departments.

When asked to give details of the process of investigation, CBI sources said, �we have just started the process of scanning of the documents and our officers are on the job for the last two weeks. It will take some time to complete the process of scanning the documents relating to the financial transactions of the five departments and the next phase of the investigation will start only after the completion of the process.� Sources said that the CBI would take decisions on whether any person would be questioned for their alleged involvement of the scams only on the basis of the findings of examining the documents. Sources also admitted that in such cases of financial irregularities, examining the documents is a painstaking process. But at the same time, sources asserted that it would not be possible for anyone to tamper with the documents now.

CBI sources also clarified that the Bureau has not been given any period for which the financial irregularities should be probed into and it would all depend on the findings of scanning of the available documents.

It may be mentioned here that the NIA , during the course of the investigation into the politician-militant nexus, came across documents, which proved that financial norms and regulations were flouted blatantly in the council for years and Chief Executive Members, Executive Members and even senior officials of the Government issued orders to release substantial amounts of funds on plain papers or their pads without mentioning the projects for which the money was withdrawn. Even the Governor�s secretariat issued orders for release of funds without mentioning the projects for which the money was required. Interestingly, the accounts of the Council were not audited for years and only recently, the Government initiated a process of auditing the accounts.

The financial scam in the Council led to a major political issue with the opposition parties and other organizations demanding a probe by the CBI and only after the intervention by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which advised the Assam Government to get the matter investigated by the CBI, the case was referred to the Central investigating agency.