FIR with CBI against Hajela alleging corruption in NRC

Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO here lodged an FIR with an anti-corruption branch of CBI on Thursday against former NRC state coordinator, Prateek Hajela alleging corruption and misappropriation of money from Rs. 1,600 crore sanctioned by the Centre for the citizenship verification exercise.

APW, which had moved the Supreme Court in 2009 seeking update of the NRC slammed Hajela since the final list of the NRC was released on August 31. 

The FIR lodged by APW leader Rajib Deka alleged that Hajela had misappropriated funds in the procurement of 10,000 laptops, 11,000 electric generators, computer software and others during an update of the NRC. It also alleged that a large amount of money utilised during the NRC work was not audited as per the norms.

"For the NRC update work, 10,000 laptops were purchased by Hajela at Rs. 44,000 per laptop. During our survey, it has come to light that the market value of such laptop is Rs. 22,500 only per laptop. About 11,000 electric generators were also purchased by Hajela paying double of the actual price," the FIR said.

It further alleged that Hajela had appointed numbers of retired government servants as his advisors and they were provided with new vehicles and handsome salary. '"As per our information, a huge corruption took place in this process. What type of work was done by the said advisors are not known and no records is available in this regard, and it is not audited by CAG. A large number of school teachers were also engaged in the NRC work. However, no remuneration has been paid to them but huge money is shown to have been paid to such teachers," it said.

This comes days after Hajela, the IAS officer was released for deputation to Madhya Pradesh as per an order of the Supreme Court. 

Hajela did not reply to calls and text messages from DH reporter for his reaction about the allegations. 

Assam minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma also alleged that financial irregularities were committed during Hajela's tenure as NRC coordinator. "We will submit the details in the state Assembly on December 5 showing the irregularities committed by Hajela. We will show how Accounts General shot several inspection letters about expenditure done by Hajela," Sarma said hours after the FIR was lodged. 

APW president Abhijeet Sharma said they would lodge another four FIRs against Hajela with Enforcement Directorate, National Investigation Agency and other investigation agencies seeking inquiry into alleged corruption during the NRC update process.

Hajela faced ire of Sarma after 19.06 lakh applicants were left out of the NRC. Sarma claimed that many illegal migrants made it to the NRC while genuine citizens were left out despite having documents. 

Shah meeting on CAB: 

Sarma said union home minister Amit Shah has invited Chief Ministers of eight states in the Northeast, opposition parties and local organisations for a meeting in New Delhi on Friday and Saturday to discuss the issues concerning the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. "Once the doubts are cleared, I hope the bill will be tabled and passed in the ongoing winter session of the Parliament. Most of the chief ministers want some kind of safeguards for the indigenous population and I hope draft of the bill this time will address all those concerns," Sarma said in Guwahati. The Northeast is witnessing protest against the bill.

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