CRIME WATCH: Scapegoat hint at BDO meet – ‘Arrest too prompt’ – politics at play to hide skeletons in more cupboards – good, grab them all ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Balurghat, Aug. 17: The arrest of the Harirampur BDO was “too prompt and rash” and the result of a decision taken on the spur of the moment, the West Bengal Civil Services (executive) Officers’ Association has alleged.
Suman Majhi was arrested from adjoining Malda district on Friday while trying to flee South Dinajpur after allegedly embezzling funds of over Rs 1 crore meant for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
At a news conference yesterday evening, the association members were critical of the district administration, including the district magistrate. They hinted that the prompt action shown while arresting Majhi smacked of a greater conspiracy. (*?!!)
The district secretary of the association, Sourabh Mondol, threatened to launch an agitation if the cloud over the arrest and the embezzlement of funds were not cleared. He was speaking in the presence of the association’s district president, additional district magistrate Naryan Sarkar.
“We do not want a wrong message to go to the public regarding our association following the BDO’s arrest. That is why we want to say that we are dead against the misuse of public funds and we are not in favour of shielding the guilty,” a statement issued by the association read.
“We demand that all those who involved in the alleged defalcation of funds be punished and a thorough inquiry be conducted, the district administration also cannot distance itself from all responsibility,” Mondol said.
He said Majhi’s arrest was “too prompt and rash” although police complaints had been filed against three other officials. “There is no evidence that the district administration or police have made any attempt to arrest the others,” Mondol said.
The trio against whom the subdivisional officer of Gangarampur had filed FIRs in the last week of July are Narayan Chakrabarty, the assistant programme officer of the NREGS, Sujit Das, a technical assistant, and Moloy Sinha Roy, a sub-assistant engineer. All the three are missing ever since the complaints were filed.
“We are protesting the manner in which the three were allowed to abscond and the way in which the BDO was suddenly arrested. We will launch a movement if nothing is done in this regard,” an association member said.
Sources in the administration said the BDOs in the district had met yesterday to discuss the arrest and the charges levelled against Majhi. The BDOs of the eight blocks of South Dinajpur are worried as projects under the NREGS are in progress throughout the district, hinting that they, too, might be made scapegoats.
South Dinajpur district magistrate Ashok Banerjee said anybody could have grievances “but we followed the rule of the law while arresting the BDO”.