The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Probe into bribery slur

Guwahati, Jan. 22: A day after two poachers confessed to having paid Rs 1 lakh to a police official as protection money, Assam police today ordered an inquiry into the allegation.

The Golaghat superintendent of police, Deepak Kumar, said he has directed the sub-divisional police officer of Bokakhat, Nobin Singh, to conduct an inquiry into the allegations. The report will have to be submitted within 48 hours.

“This is a serious allegation. If found true, stern action would be taken against the guilty policeman,” Singh said. He said the two poachers had alleged that they had paid the amount to the officer in-charge of Kamargaon police station through a middleman, who is an Assam Police Battalion jawan based in Dergaon.

The APBn jawan is from Aphala village where the rhino was killed and buried in a pit in a farmer’s backyard. The two poachers were part of an 11-member gang involved in the killing of the rhino on December 25. The horn had fetched Rs 12 lakh, the poachers said.

Numol Doley, one of the two poachers arrested on Tuesday, revealed during interrogation that the members of the gang were assured by the middlemen that they should not worry any more since the amount was paid at Kamargaon and as such the police would not look for them.

The All Assam Students Union (AASU), which was up in arms against the government for its failure to check the rampant killing of rhinos in Kaziranga last year, today demanded stern action against the police personnel who were in cahoots with the poachers.

“We have been maintaining that forest and police personnel were involved in the killing of rhinos, now it has been proved. A poacher would not dare to take names of policemen unless there was some truth in it,” said AASU general secretary Tapan Gogoi.

He said it was surprising that no action was taken against the police personnel even after 24 hours despite the fact that the poachers had named them. “Had the poachers taken the names of a civilian, he would have been picked up immediately,” Gogoi said.

Poachers killed 10 rhinos in Kaziranga last year.

Numol said the supply of arms and ammunition for killing rhinos come from the north bank of the Brahmaputra. Numol and Bipul Kamang, the alleged kingpin of the gang, are currently in the custody of the forest department.

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