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NC Hills scam rocks Assembly

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, July 12 � The Monsoon Session of the Assam Legislative Assembly today started with a stormy note on the issue of financial scam in North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council. Opposition members stormed out of the House protesting Speaker Tanka Bahadur Rai's stand to reserve his ruling on the demand for an Adjournment Motion on the issue, till July 16, the ultimate day of the five-day current session.

The Opposition staged their walkout a few minutes after the House re-assembled at 12 noon. Earlier, the Speaker had to adjourn the House for half an hour at 11-30 am amidst slogan shouting by the Opposition members.

The Opposition members today moved an Adjournment Motion on the financial scam in NC Hills and when the Speaker, Tanka Bahadur Rai kept his ruling on the Motion reserved, all the members of the Opposition and Independent legislator Bhuban Pegu rushed to the well of the House and started shouting slogans demanding a thorough probe into the scam. Unable to bring the House in order, the Speaker adjourned the House for 30 minutes. Even during the discussion on the admissibility of the Motion, the House witnessed heated war of words between the ruling and Opposition members.

Speaking on the admissibility of the Motion, Leader of the Opposition Chandra Mohan Patowary said that the financial scam in NC Hills Autonomous Council is a matter of serious concern and the House should thoroughly discuss the same. It is a matter of grave concern that a portion of development funds went to the coffers of the militants, he added. He pointed out that the chief of the DHD (J) Jewel Garlosa recently commented that the commander-in-chief of the outfit, Niranjan Hojai went abroad with the permission of the Government. He said that the Government should clarify the matter.

Prafulla Kumar Mahanta (AGP) said that the scam exposed the nexus between political leaders, officials, contractors and militants. He pointed out that there was an instance of a Deputy Commissioner of the district, who was also in charge of the Principal Secretary of the Council withdrawing an amount of Rs 18.50 crore and no one knew what happened to the money.

Drupad Borgohain (CPI) said that all sections of people of the State were concerned about the huge financial scam and an amount of Rs 13.45 crore was recovered from the garage of a person, who is a relative of one of the accused in the scam. He pointed out that allegations were levelled against a former Governor of the State and also against Ministers and there is need for a detailed discussion on the issue.

Dr Aditya Langthasa (AUDF) said that the Government was responsible for allowing total lawlessness to continue in the Hill district. A portion of the money earmarked for development went to the coffers of the militants resulting in deaths of number of people, he alleged.

Ranjit Dutta (BJP) said that the scam was one of the biggest in the country and a section of political leaders, officers and militants were involved in it. The trouble started when Dutta was speaking as Independent legislator Jiten Gogoi interrupted and said that he was not "ready to listen to any more lecture on the issue as the people of Assam already heard a lot on the scam through the media". He also asked the Speaker to clarify whether the Adjournment Motion was admitted. His action resulted in a heated war of words between the ruling and Opposition members and Ranjit Dutta said that the Speaker could not act as the guardian of the legislators.

Ananta Deka (CPM) said that corruption is one of the main ills affecting the State. He said that the scam in NC Hills should not be treated as a mere economic offence as it not only affected development but also exposed the nexus between a section of political leaders, officers, contractors and militants.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bharat Chandra Narah opposed the motion and said that the Opposition members should have raised the issue through other rules. He said that the Government was not opposed to discussing the issue but not through an Adjournment Motion.

Narah said that the State Government ordered a probe by Justice RK Manisana Singh into the politician-militant nexus in NC Hills and dissolved the Council after receiving the report. He said that when the scam came to light, the Chief Minister ordered a special audit of the accounts of the financial dealings of the Council and at present, two agencies are investigating into the same. The NIA is investigating into the politician-militant nexus, while, the CBI is probing into the financial scam. He also alleged that instead of a serious discussion on the issue, the Opposition was interested merely on gaining political mileage. Narah's allegation sparked off another heated exchange of words between ruling and Opposition members.

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NC Hills scam rocks Assembly

GUWAHATI, July 12 � The Monsoon Session of the Assam Legislative Assembly today started with a stormy note on the issue of financial scam in North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council. Opposition members stormed out of the House protesting Speaker Tanka Bahadur Rai's stand to reserve his ruling on the demand for an Adjournment Motion on the issue, till July 16, the ultimate day of the five-day current session.

The Opposition staged their walkout a few minutes after the House re-assembled at 12 noon. Earlier, the Speaker had to adjourn the House for half an hour at 11-30 am amidst slogan shouting by the Opposition members.

The Opposition members today moved an Adjournment Motion on the financial scam in NC Hills and when the Speaker, Tanka Bahadur Rai kept his ruling on the Motion reserved, all the members of the Opposition and Independent legislator Bhuban Pegu rushed to the well of the House and started shouting slogans demanding a thorough probe into the scam. Unable to bring the House in order, the Speaker adjourned the House for 30 minutes. Even during the discussion on the admissibility of the Motion, the House witnessed heated war of words between the ruling and Opposition members.

Speaking on the admissibility of the Motion, Leader of the Opposition Chandra Mohan Patowary said that the financial scam in NC Hills Autonomous Council is a matter of serious concern and the House should thoroughly discuss the same. It is a matter of grave concern that a portion of development funds went to the coffers of the militants, he added. He pointed out that the chief of the DHD (J) Jewel Garlosa recently commented that the commander-in-chief of the outfit, Niranjan Hojai went abroad with the permission of the Government. He said that the Government should clarify the matter.

Prafulla Kumar Mahanta (AGP) said that the scam exposed the nexus between political leaders, officials, contractors and militants. He pointed out that there was an instance of a Deputy Commissioner of the district, who was also in charge of the Principal Secretary of the Council withdrawing an amount of Rs 18.50 crore and no one knew what happened to the money.

Drupad Borgohain (CPI) said that all sections of people of the State were concerned about the huge financial scam and an amount of Rs 13.45 crore was recovered from the garage of a person, who is a relative of one of the accused in the scam. He pointed out that allegations were levelled against a former Governor of the State and also against Ministers and there is need for a detailed discussion on the issue.

Dr Aditya Langthasa (AUDF) said that the Government was responsible for allowing total lawlessness to continue in the Hill district. A portion of the money earmarked for development went to the coffers of the militants resulting in deaths of number of people, he alleged.

Ranjit Dutta (BJP) said that the scam was one of the biggest in the country and a section of political leaders, officers and militants were involved in it. The trouble started when Dutta was speaking as Independent legislator Jiten Gogoi interrupted and said that he was not "ready to listen to any more lecture on the issue as the people of Assam already heard a lot on the scam through the media". He also asked the Speaker to clarify whether the Adjournment Motion was admitted. His action resulted in a heated war of words between the ruling and Opposition members and Ranjit Dutta said that the Speaker could not act as the guardian of the legislators.

Ananta Deka (CPM) said that corruption is one of the main ills affecting the State. He said that the scam in NC Hills should not be treated as a mere economic offence as it not only affected development but also exposed the nexus between a section of political leaders, officers, contractors and militants.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bharat Chandra Narah opposed the motion and said that the Opposition members should have raised the issue through other rules. He said that the Government was not opposed to discussing the issue but not through an Adjournment Motion.

Narah said that the State Government ordered a probe by Justice RK Manisana Singh into the politician-militant nexus in NC Hills and dissolved the Council after receiving the report. He said that when the scam came to light, the Chief Minister ordered a special audit of the accounts of the financial dealings of the Council and at present, two agencies are investigating into the same. The NIA is investigating into the politician-militant nexus, while, the CBI is probing into the financial scam. He also alleged that instead of a serious discussion on the issue, the Opposition was interested merely on gaining political mileage. Narah's allegation sparked off another heated exchange of words between ruling and Opposition members.