From a Correspondent
JORHAT, November 19: Is there a link between the famous ATM robbery case of Teok and the multi-crore scam of illegal appointment of the Health Department of the Assam Government? This is a question that has allegedly become the talk of Jorhat town, especially after a sensatiol revelation came to the light signifying Prasanta Bhuyan, the main mastermind of the Teok ATM loot case, along with two other fake appointees, including a woman of the Jorhat Health Department’s anticipatory bail application under Section 438 Cr P.C was rejected by the Gauhati High Court on August 21 this year. The fake appointees turned bail applicants were out in the open air without arrest along with a further allegation that the ATM heist was planned to quench the thirst of certain corrupt officials of the CM Vigilance cell spearheading the present investigation.
It must be mentioned here that based on an allegation petition filed by one Nilakantha Deka of Guwahati and subsequent enquiry on being approved by the Principal Secretary to the CM, Assam vide U.O No CMS (G)/46/2014(Complaint-1)2014 dated 2/9/2014 SVC RE No 9/2014 was initiated and a thorough enquiry by the Chief Minister’s Vigilance Cell led to the filing of an FIR by the then IO (Investigating Officer) before the Officer-in-Charge, Vigilance Police Station, Guwahati for registering a crimil case against officials of the Health Services Department of Assam.
The mes included Dr Dhurba Hojai, the then Director of Health Services, Guwahati, Joint Director of Health Services Jorhat, Dr Sarat Chandra Das, Dr Manik Hazarika, the then Joint Director of Health, Dibrugarh, Sushil Dutta UDA and Mala Phookon LDA at the Jorhat Health Department Office, Subeshwar Das, Bill Clerk DMO Office Jorhat and a host of others who were allegedly directly or indirectly involved in preparing and issuing fake appointment letters by collecting huge amount of money as bribe to 88 illegal appointees in various posts (ranks) in the Health Department of Jorhat and Lakhimpur district. Notably, Prasanta Bhuyan (Vaccitor), Bidyut Bikash Bora (SW) and Juri Boiragi (LDA) were among the 88 fake appointment cases.
The investigation that went on in full swing in 2014 with an apprehension of large-scale arrest of those involved in the multi-crore fake appointment scam on the cards later in 2015 lost pace and became directionless and without result till date. Talking to The Sentinel, IO B Goswami, who is in the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the CM Vigilance Cell, said, “Prasanta Bhuyan and three others had not once but twice approached me to settle the case in their favour in exchange of a huge amount of money for the entire 88 fake workers. But I rejected the offer. The present crisis of slow investigation pertains to the non-availability of manpower in the CM Vigilance Cell and as such we are not like the regular civil police who register a case, put culprits in the lockup and later forward them to jail. In their case we have not made any arrest since we are still trying to collect evidences.”
Asked whether there was a nexus between any officer of the CM Vigilance Cell and a powerful lobby trying to suppress the Health Department scam, the IO said,” I refute all charges that there is any such kind of understanding though it is true that many out of the 88 fake and illegal appointees had approached me as I am origilly from the Chenijaan area of Jorhat. Though some had crimil intention behind the scam others had become a victim of ignorance and a lust for a government job.”
Sources of both the Police and the Health Department following the trail of the case have, however, raised doubt over the IO’s claim and have stated that the Judge of the Gauhati High Court after calling for the case dairy had found the petitioners giving money to Sushil Dutta UDA Jorhat to obtain fake appointment letters and because of the aforesaid fake appointments, the Assam Government had to incur huge loss by giving them salaries. There are incrimiting materials against the petitioners and therefore the anticipatory bail was rejected, besides vacating the interim bail dated May 25, 2015.
What is keeping the IO, B Goswami from carrying out arrests despite all powers vested upon him? This has raised serious criticism and allegation that perhaps law enforcing agencies have already reached a deal to bail out the people involved in the crime. And due to the non-arrest of Prasanta Bhuyan at the very first instance after bail rejection, it in fact emboldened him to allegedly commit a crime like the ATM robbery.