Kokrajhar, Jan. 3: A senior Congress leader from the Bodoland Territorial Areas District, Bikram Singh Brahma, was today arrested from Chirang district on charges of rape.
Brahma, who is in his early sixties, was arrested after the victim’s husband, Lakhen Basumatary, former chairman of Salbari village council development committee, filed an FIR at Basugaon police station. A case (03/2013) has been registered under Sections 448/376 IPC. Brahma is expected to be produced in court tomorrow.
Basumatary told reporters that he had caught the Congress leader in a compromising position with his wife last night. He said Brahma had come to his house around 6pm with his personal security officer and had stayed over. When he woke around 2am, Basumatary found Brahma with his wife in bed.
Basumatary said they have known Brahma for a few months now and he sometimes came over. He said he had suspected an illicit relationship between the two, which was confirmed when he caught them red-handed last night.
The woman, who is in her early forties, said she was lured by the accused with promises of helping her husband as he has connections in Dispur.
Salbari village headman Biswanath Narzary said the Congress leader had admitted to having a relationship with the woman and that he had slept with her twice. He said it was “very unfortunate and shameful” that a political leader who should serve people was caught red-handed. He demanded the highest punishment for the culprit in a court of law.
Angry villagers, including women, stripped the accused and beat him up before handing him over to Basugaon police around 11.45am, demanding harsh punishment and his immediate expulsion from the Congress. They also vandalised his vehicle.
The villagers said the Sumo Grande that Brahma travelled in carried his designation as “chief co-coordinator of BTC Congress co-ordination committee & PCC (member), chairman ST department DCC, Baksa”.
A PCC source said Brahma was a self-styled chairman of the coordination committee, as the post was not officially recognised.
The incident has sparked a sensation in the area as the Bodo community considers an illicit relationship to be a sin. Congress leaders in Kokrajhar condemned the action as “shameful” and demanded action against Brahma. Assam PCC vice-president Y.L. Karna said in Guwahati this evening that Brahma had been suspended from the primary membership of the party. He also said that Brahma was not the chairman of the Congress coordination committee in BTAD as the panel was dissolved two years ago. “The panel, formed after the creation of the BTAD, has no official sanction. It was created for smooth functioning of the party.”
Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita said this afternoon that he had sought a report from the district committee based on which action would be taken against Brahma. “If the allegations are found to be true, he will be expelled,” he said at Rajiv Bhaw-an. He did not set any deadline for submission of the report. Brahma hails from Dhumni in Baksa district and had contested the 2011 Assembly election from Chapaguri constitu-ency on a Congress ticket. He had, however, lost the election.
However, Chirang district Congress president Supriya Rani Brahma termed the incident a political conspiracy to malign the image of Congress leaders in the BTAD.