In a major breakthrough, Assam police arrested a former officiating chairman of Assam Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, (ABOCWWB) and the alleged prime accused in over Rs 121 crore alleged scam, involving misappropriation of the money collected as cess for the welfare of construction workers.
Gautam Baruah, who served as the officiating chairman of the board from 2011 to 2017, was arrested on February 24th, 2020 from a rented house in Krishna Nagar area of Safdarjung enclave in New Delhi. The arrested accused shall be produced before the local court in New Delhi on February 25th, 2020 for seeking transit remand for bringing him before the Special Court at Guwahati.
A case was registered on the basis of a complaint lodged by Tapan Sarma, IAS, the then Labour Commissioner Cum Member Secretary of ABOCWWB about the “forgery and large scale misappropriation of board funds” by his predecessor Member Secretary and Chairman.
On the basis of an enquiry conducted in Chief Minister’s Special Vigilance Cell in 2017, a case was registered vide Vigilance PS case no. 09/2017 u/s 120(B)/406/409/468/471/420 IPC R/W Sec 13(2) of P.C Act of 1988 under the Chief Minister’s Special Vigilance Cell, Assam.
According to the police, Chohan Doley, IAS, the then Member Secretary of ABOCWWB, Baruah, the then Chairman ABOCWWB, Nagendra Nath Choudhury, the then Administrative officer, ABOCWWB and Priyangshu Boiragi, Proprietor of M/S. Purbashree Printing House hatched a “criminal conspiracy” resulting in “misappropriation of the funds of more than Rs 121 crore from the fund accumulated through the collection of cess of the ABOCWWB in the bank account’.
Doley, Choudhury and Boiragi, were arrested in the year 2017 and a chargesheet was filed for their involvement in the crime in the year 2018. However, Baruah had absconded and evaded arrest, since the registration of the case in the year 2017,” police said.
“Despite repeated notices to appear before the investigation, Baruah evaded the investigating agency and absconded along with his wife, from the usual place of stay in Guwahati, since 2017. A non-bailable warrant of arrest had also been issued last year against him by the Special Court at Guwahati,” Assam Police said in a statement.
The process of attachment of his properties had also been initiated to compel his appearance before investigation. A cash reward of Rs 1,00,000 had also been announced by the Chief Minister’s Special Vigilance Cell, for any information leading to his arrest, the statement added.