Despite SC order, BJP not okay for releasing Hajela

The ruling BJP in Assam asked the government not to release NRC state co-ordinator Prateek Hajela till he submitted proof expenditure of Rs 1,600 crore, released by the Centre for the citizenship verification exercise.

This comes a day after a bench of the Supreme Court headed by chief justice Ranjan Gogoi ordered immediate transfer of IAS officer Hajela to his home state Madhya Pradesh “for the maximum period permissible under the relevant rules/regulations” after he had apparently told the apex court about "threat" to his life. The order of the bench, however, did not cite the reason for Hajela's transfer. 

"We all must honour the order of the Supreme Court. But the government should not release Hajela till he submits documentary proofs of expenditure of Rs.1,600 crore incurred in the updation of the NRC,” BJP’s Assam unit president Ranjit Kumar Dass said.

Dass said the Centre and the Assam government should file an appeal in the apex court in this regard.

"A huge sum of money was spent in the name of the NRC but eventually we got nothing. He played with our burning (foreigner) problem," Dass said.

Hajela was slammed by the ruling BJP in Assam after over 19.06 lakh applicants were left out of the final list of NRC, released on August 31 this year. BJP alleged that large number of foreigners made it to the NRC while genuine Indian citizens were left out due to "autocratic" style of functioning of Hajela. 

Hajela became a target of BJP since the Supreme Court turned down a petition filed by the Centre and Assam government seeking 20% re-verification of applications in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10% in rest of the districts. But the apex court denied the government's plea after Hajela told the court that re-verification was not necessary as 27% re-verification was done during disposal of claims and objections of the applications filed after publication of the draft NRC in July 31 last year.

Hajela had even refused to meet chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to discuss about the NRC just before release of the final list of the NRC. 

The Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO which had first moved the apex court seeking the NRC’s updation, said Hajela should be punished for giving Assam an erroneous NRC. The APW was also critical of the expenses of Rs.1600 crore in the NRC process.

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