Jorhat, Aug. 28: The court of the chief judicial magistrate (Tinsukia) has sentenced a former BDO of Kakopathar block and a former extension officer of the same block in Tinsukia district to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment after convicting them of misappropriating rice from midday meal scheme in 2003.
Aliur Rahman Borah (now retired) was then the BDO while Khitish Chandra Kakati was then the extension officer of the block. Both have been convicted under Section 409 IPC (criminal breach of trust by public servant or by banker, merchant or agent).
The chief judicial magistrate, N. Senabaya Deori, in a judgment (GR case number 54/04) delivered on Monday, also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each on both the officials. In default of payment of the fine, the convicts will have to undergo simple imprisonment of another five months.
While convicting the duo, the magistrate observed: “Considering the facts and the nature and gravity of offence committed by them (duo), I am of the opinion that this is not a fit case to have a lenient view, rather to be dealt with severely. The midday meal is basically meant for schoolchildren. The act of convicts was as if they have snatched away food from the mouths of poor schoolchildren.”
The judgment further observed: “They (Borah and Kakati) had not only caused great damage to the society at large by frustrating the noble cause, but also sent wrong signal/massage to society to earn by adopting illegal means. I am also aware of the fact that by my sentence, the convicts and their respective families will suffer. However, I am of rigid view that the sufferance of convicts and their families will be negligible by comparing with the greater sufferings of society at large.”
In January 2004, then Tinsukia deputy commissioner Sanjay Lohia, had lodged an FIR with the Kakopathar police station against the duo on charges of misappropriating rice allotted under midday meal scheme to the block. A case was registered and both the officials were arrested.
The complaint was lodged on the basis of two inquiry reports submitted to the then deputy commissioner by then assistant director of food and civil supplies department, B.C. Bordoloi, and then executive magistrate, Faruk Alam.
The deputy commissioner had received complaints from people on anomalies being committed in the midday meal scheme in Kakopathar block where the quantity of rice was less than the government allotment.
The two probe reports found that nearly 400 quintals of rice allotted under the scheme to Kakopathar block had been misappropriated by the two officials between August 2003 and December 2003.
Both the probes found that utilisation certificates were issued against the misappropriated quantity of rice by Borah, in connivance with Kakati.
After the delivery of the judgment, the convicted duo were sent to judicial custody.
Additional public prosecutor (Tinsukia), B.B. Yadav was the counsel for the prosecution while advocates L.N. Borkataky, D.P. Seal and S.K. Seal represented the accused persons.