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Ex-Speaker gets two-year RI

- AGP leader and two officials punished in recruitment scam

Guwahati, Dec. 24: The court of the chief judicial magistrate, Nalbari, today sentenced former Assembly Speaker Pulakesh Barua and two former officials of the education department in Prafulla Mahanta-led AGP government to two years’ imprisonment for their involvement in illegal recruitment of high school teachers in the state between 1996 and 2001.

The court has also imposed fine of Rs 20,000 each on Barua, former inspector of schools Amulya Choudhury and ex-district elementary education officer Satish Sarma in Nalbari district.

Three employees of the office of the district inspector of schools, Nalbari — Ram Chandra Sarma, Bhudev Goswami and Harmohan Bharali — have been sentenced to four months’ imprisonment for facilitating the illegal appointments.

While Barua, Choudhury and Sarma have been convicted under Sections 468, 120B and 34 IPC, three employees will serve four months in jail under Section 120B IPC.

Advocate Mukunda Barman, the public prosecutor, told The Telegraph that Barua, who was the then chairman of Nalbari district teachers’ selection committee and AGP legistalor from Barkhetri, was directly involved in selecting teachers by fraudulent means.

He said the court had found enough evidence as to how Barua along with the district education officers and employees violated all rules and regulation to appoint undeserving candidates for the posts of 100 high school teachers in Nalbari district.

“The selection committee published a list of 100 candidates for the posts high school teachers in 1996. Initially, the first 10 candidates of the list were appointed in 1996 itself. After appointment of 10 candidates, the list was not followed and candidates whose names did not figure in the list were appointed illegally till 2001,” Barman said.

According to Barman, some of the candidates whose names were there in the original list filed a writ petition in Gauhati High Court in 2006 against the illegal appointments.

The high court accordingly asked its deputy registrar (judicial) to lodge an FIR in Nalbari in 2006.

Police conducted an investigation and arrested Pulakesh Barua, Choudhury and Sarma in 2008.

Barman said the trial continued for nearly four years and CJM Dibyajyoti Mahanta today gave the verdict.