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CBI charges four for graft

Guwahati, Dec. 19: The CBI has charged four persons with misappropriating Rs 5.49 crore from the money released by the National Highway Authority of India (India) for compensatory afforestation in the Dima Hasao forests affected by four-laning of NH54.

A CBI source today said the agency, while investigating corruption in Dima Hasao Autonomous Council, had established beyond doubt that the then divisional forest officer of the district, Debiruz Zaman, and the then chief executive member of the council, Depolal Hojai, had abused their official positions, entered into a criminal conspiracy with businessman Ranbir Singh Gandhi and his son Charanjit Singh Gandhi and misappropriated the said amount.

The scam took place in 2008.

Gandhi is the proprietor of a firm, Hills Trade Agencies, which has its office at P.B. Complex on AT Road here. His son is a partner in the firm.

The source said the accused misappropriated the money without executing the targeted tasks. “It caused the state exchequer as loss of Rs 5.49 crore.”

He said the CBI had submitted the chargesheet in the case in the court of special CBI judge here on Saturday. “The four accused have been named in the chargesheet.”

The Shillong-based anti-corruption branch of the CBI carried out the investigation.

He said the accused persons had misappropriated the amount out of total Rs 12 crore paid by NHAI to the Dima Hasao divisional forest officer for restoration of forest areas affected by four-laning of the national highway and was to be spent on afforestation and creation of nurseries, among others.

The probe revealed that Gandhi and his son had used the money for personal business purposes, like repayment of loans, among others, defeating the very purpose for which it was released by the NHAI.

In the chargesheet, the CBI said the probe had established the commission of offences by the accused, which was punishable under Sections 120 B and 409 IPC and Sections 13 (2) and 13 (1) (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The agency also enclosed an order sanctioning prosecution of Debiruz Zaman and Depolal Hojai.


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