| Demonstrators in front of the sabha’s central office in Jorhat on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
Jorhat, Sept. 3: Former Asam Sahitya Sabha general secretary Basanta Goswami has filed a defamation suit (case registration number 286/12) against present sabha general secretary Parmananda Rajbonsi at the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Jorhat.
Former Sabha members staged a sit-in in front of Chandrakanta Handique Bhawan, the sabha headquarters, this afternoon against alleged election irregularities committed by Rajbonsi.
Addressing a news conference today, Goswami said his case was filed on the basis of a report which appeared in a vernacular daily in which Rajbonsi had accused him of misappropriating Rs 60 lakh given as royalty by the government for publication of five volumes of Axomiya Biswakox (Assamese encyclopaedia).
Rajbonsi also accused former presidents of the sabha, Homen Borgohain and Nagen Saikia, of conspiring and trying to destroy the apex literary organisation of the state from outside.
“I was the general secretary of the sabha from April 1 2001 to April 1 2003 and during that period the sabha did not receive any money from the government. When I handed over charge to the next general secretary in the presence of other office-bearers, I had given all the accounts of the sabha properly. Now, nine years later, I am being accused of corruption,” Goswami said.
“The government had only declared during my tenure that it would give Rs 20 lakh. A sum of Rs 46 lakh had been given as donation by well-wishers to bring out the encyclopaedia. Had this entire amount been misappropriated by me then not a single volume of the encyclopaedia comprising more than 5,000 pages in total would have been published.”
Goswami added that he had proof that the government had given Rs 7.8 lakh during the term of his successor, Jagadish Patgiri, which was accounted for.
Rajbonsi told this correspondent over phone that he was glad that the issue had gone to the court and he would now place everything before the people of Assam to judge for themselves.
“It is they who have violated the rules and regulations of the sabha by airing their grievances before the media on July 10 instead of having an in-house discussion, as is the rule,” he said.
Rajbonsi further said he would prove that anomalies had been committed by those in power before him if required by the court and with due permission from the executive committee.
He said he would not attend the convention called by a section of former office-bearers in Nagaon on September 9 because it had been convened by “suspended members”.
The sit-in today was organised by six former presidents of the sabha. The demonstrators spoke against alleged election irregularities committed by Rajbonsi.