Assam NGO files FIR with CBI against former state NRC coordinator over alleged financial irregularities

The FIR alleges scam in purchase of software and generators for the NRC process.

A Guwahati-based NGO has registered a first information report (FIR) with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleging financial irregularities in the updating process of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam, which was released last year.

The FIR was filed in the Anti-Corruption Branch of CBI here on Monday by the Assam Public Works (APW), the original petitioner on whose PIL the Supreme Court in 2015 had ordered for updating of the NRC, which was first compiled for Assam in 1951.

The APW alleges that Wipro, one of the prime software companies, involved in the NRC updating process, had allegedly submitted a bill of Rs 1.27 crore for procurement of two software systems. The amount was paid to them between February and August 2017, it added.

“However, as per the ground report of the National Institute of Smart Governance (NISG), submitted to the Office of the Accountant General (Audit) in Assam, no such system was installed and used for the updation of NRC in Assam,” the FIR read.

The APW alleges that the said bill for the amount of Rs 1.27 crore was cleared by Prateek Hajela, former state coordinator of NRC. The IAS officer was transferred to Madhya Pradesh last year on the directions of the Supreme Court.

The FIR further alleges that a report by the Accountant General (Audit) also reveals irregularities in purchase of 3,700 generators for 2,500 NRC help centres set up across Assam.

It maintains that Wipro had submitted bills worth Rs 34.76 crore for purchase of these generators at the rate of Rs 93,964 for each set, but an inquiry by the accountant general’s office revealed that the generators were hired (not purchased). It was also revealed that the market price of these generators was Rs 35,000 each and not Rs 93,964.

HT reached out to the corporate communications department of Wipro in Bangalore and this is what they said in an email:

“Wipro does not comment on pending litigation.”

The final NRC list for Assam was released in August last year in which 1.9 million of the 33 million people, who applied for inclusion in the list to determine citizenship, were excluded.

Those left out of the list were to file an appeal at foreigners’ tribunals within 120 days. But the process is yet to start.

Source: Hindustan Times


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