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Wakfs board chairperson resigns

Guwahati, May 22: Former Congress legislator Abdul Khaleque, who has resigned from the post of Assam Board of Wakfs chairperson, today demanded a CBI probe into allegations of largescale financial anomalies in the board and said he would immolate himself if found guilty.

The commissioner and secretary of the state department of welfare of minorities and development today received the letter Khaleque had sent yesterday, resigning from the post with immediate effect.

Khaleque did not mention the reason for his resignation in his letter but told reporters that allegations levelled by BJP Minority Morcha and some AIUDF legislators along with media reports about financial anomalies in the board had hurt him and prompted him to take the decision.

“There have been reports in the media regarding alleged financial anomalies in the board. These were baseless and based on allegations. I demand a CBI probe into these allegations. If I am found guilty, I will immolate myself,” the journalist-turned-politician said.

“The BJP Minority Morcha has been alleging financial anomalies in the board. Now as the BJP is going to form the government at the Centre, it should institute a CBI probe,” he said.

In December last year, Assam Speaker Pranab Gogoi had ordered the formation of a House committee to probe the alleged anomalies in maintaining Wakf assets in the state. The probe is still on.

The Speaker’s order came after AIUDF legislator Sherman Ali Ahmed raised the issue during question hour in the winter session of the Assembly, alleging that the board has failed to do its job.

Khaleque was appointed the chairperson of the board in 2006 and reappointed in 2012. He said during his period the state government had increased its annual financial assistance to the board from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 37 lakh (in the 2006-07 fiscal).

He also said the state government had released Rs 1 crore to the board after a joint parliamentary committee recommended that Rs 10 crore be given to the board. “The board decided to erect a building with the money on a plot of land at Dakhingaon in Kamrup. The land was encroached upon even after chief minister Tarun Gogoi laid the foundation stone of the building there. The government did nothing but hold a meeting on the issue,” he added.

There are allegations that several leading commercial establishments have been set up on the board’s land in Fancy Bazar, one of the busiest areas of the city, and they have been paying a meagre amount as monthly rent. Khaleque admitted that the rent was low but claimed that during his tenure the board had succeeded in increasing it by 10 per cent.