MANGALDAI, April 3 - In a major turn in the fight against corruption by the Chief Minister Sonowal-led State government, five officials of the Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board (ASAMB) have reportedly been placed under suspension allegedly for their involvement in rampant corrupt practices in the department during the tenure of the last Congress-led government.
According to information received here the suspension order issued on March 31 last against the officials, identified as Assistant Marketing Officer Trailokya Saikia (In Charge at BG Point in Guwahati), Marketing Inspector Dwipen Barua ( In charge of BG Point at Jorhat), Marketing Inspector Haren Lagachu ( In charge of the BG Point at Tinsukia), Assistant Secretary of District Regulatory Market Committee at Tinsukia Rusmin Hussain and Assistant Marketing Officer at Srirampore Check Gate Mantu Talukdar, has already been made effective. Chief Executive Officer of ASAMB Padma Nath Das vide five separate orders issued on the same date has placed these five officials under suspension.
All these suspended officials with the blessings of the then Congress government were allegedly involved in large scale corruption in collection of cess from agro-based notified products transported to the State.
According to the source, the Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board (ASAMB), a State government undertaking for the interest of the cultivators of the State, within a period of four months from January 28 of 2016 to May of 2016 has recorded a loss of a total amount of Rs 3,41,38,284 at the BG Point in Guwahati.
Former AASU activist Trailokya Saikia who was reportedly very close to the then Agriculture Minister during that period was functioning as the In Charge at BG Point in Guwahati. During an inquiry conducted by Senior Accounts Officer of the ASAMB M Sarma, the evasion of cess has came to the light. It has been reported that the ASAMB has incurred the loss of the said amount only due to the involvement of Trailokya Saikia in corrupt practices and unholy alliance and secret understanding with a section unscrupulous traders for his personal monetary benefits. It has also alleged that the suspended officer Saikia has also been maintaining a very cordial relation with the Agriculture Minister in the BJP-led State Government in the State. Similarly, during the tenure of Marketing Inspector Dwipen Barua as the In Charge at BG Point at Jorhat from September of 2012 to February of 2014, the ASAMB has incurred a loss of Rs. 4,56,03,410 due to the corrupt practices and unholy alliance of Dwipen Barua with a section of corrupt traders.
On the other hand, during the tenure of Marketing Inspector Haren Lagachu as the In Charge of the BG Point at Tinsukia from June of 2013 to May of 2014, cess evasion of a total amount of 82,00,391.00 was detected during an inquiry conducted by the Senior Accounts Officer of the ASAMB.
Similarly, during the tenure of Marketing Inspector Rusmin Hussain as the In Charge of the BG Point at Tinsukia from June of 2014 till date, the cess evasion of an amount of Rs 1,04,95,999 was detected during the inquiry. Further during the period from April of 2012 to May of 2013, the BG Point at Tinsukia also recorded the cess evasion of Rs 23,944,494 and Rusmin Hussain was the In Charge during that period. The cess collection at Boxirhat Check Gate during the tenure of Assistant Secretary and In Charge of Boxirhat Check Gate Mantu Talukdar, who is at present Assistant Marketing Officer at Srirampore Check Gate, recorded a heavy cess evasion as the In Charge allegedly allowed 280 loaded trucks to enter the State without paying the cess. The District Regulatory Market Committee at Dhubri, however, later realised the cess amounting to Rs 17,82,187 from the trucks allowed by the Boxirhat Check Gate.
As these large-scale corrupt practices at the behest of certain officials have come to light following the inquiry conducted by the Senior Accounts Officer, the newly-joined Chairman of ASAMB Palit Bora has taken a tough stand on the ongoing corrupt practice and accordingly the ASAMB, creating a record, has placed five officials under suspension. However, the conscious circles involved with the ASAMB have demanded the ASAMB Chairman to file an FIR at the Vigilance and Anti Corruption against all the corrupt officials on the basis of the inquiry conducted by the Senior Accounts Officer.