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Official held on graft charges

Silchar, Sept. 20: A retired Assam Civil Service officer, who was granted bail in a corruption case yesterday, was slapped with fresh charges and arrested again last night.

The official, Bahnisikha Dutta, however, fell ill and was shifted to the intensive care unit of Silchar Medical College and Hospital, sources in Cachar police said.

The Silchar police, in collaboration with their Calcutta counterparts, had taken Dutta into custody on July 13 from her flat in New Town on the outskirts of Calcutta. She got a reprieve after a court in Barasat near Calcutta granted her bail.

Then Dutta approached the Supreme Court, which in its interim order on September 2 directed her to surrender to Silchar court within four weeks’ time.

She was arrested yesterday on the basis of three probe reports into allegations of corruption. The first two probes were conducted by S.K. Das and Debashish Chakravarty, both additional deputy commissioner-level officials of the Cachar district administration. These probes were followed up by another investigation by K. Lakshmanan, the assistant commissioner of the district administration.

Cachar district’s current deputy commissioner J.M. Hazarika said Rs 18 crore had been misappropriated in a scam in which Dutta and at least six other officials of the zila parishad were involved.

It is alleged that Dutta withdrew Rs 1.67 crore from the zila parishad’s account in the Silchar branch of the Union Bank of India on February 28, the day she retired as the chief executive officer of Cachar zila parishad after 35 years of service. But there were no records of this in the ledger books of the accounts department.

The police have levelled a slew of charges against her under Sections 120(B), 420, 409, 406 and 468 of the IPC.