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Assam: 3 FIRs Against Prateek Hajela, Pension Halted Till Probe Completion

Three FIRs and an ongoing inquiry have been initiated against former state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela in connection with a Rs 262 crore scam in the updating of the NRC in Assam. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed the Assam Assembly on Monday about the legal actions taken against Hajela, including the suspension of his pension until the investigation is complete.

Details of FIRs and Inquiry

  1. The first case, registered on September 24, 2023, under section 167 of IPC, alleges that Hajela intentionally canceled names of local people from the NRC list despite having their legal data. The FIR also claims the inclusion of names of D-voters and foreigners in the final NRC list.
  2. The second case, dated January 21, 2020, under sections 468/471/188 of IPC and section 65 of the Information Technology Act, accuses Hajela of publishing the final NRC list on August 31, 2019, against Supreme Court orders, involving tampering and forgery.
  3. The third case, filed on July 20, 2021, under sections 120(B)/109/219/468/471 of IPC, alleges manipulation of family tree verification during NRC updating in collaboration with certain individuals.
  4. A regular inquiry, based on a petition filed by Abhijeet Sharma of Assam Public Works, involves an audit report of the Auditor General of India and is ongoing.

Impact on Pension and Voluntary Retirement

Hajela, who took voluntary retirement from August 1, 2023, faces departmental proceedings despite the retirement. His pension has been halted as liabilities recovery processes are underway.

Chief Minister Sarma assured that the final NRC list is yet to be published, and the Registrar General of India holds authority for its publication. He clarified that the Assam government has not filed any affidavit in the Supreme Court for NRC re-verification.

The Supreme Court directive led to the blocking of Aadhaar for 26,52,784 persons added to the supplementary list of the NRC in August 2019. The central government issued an office memorandum to relieve NRC rejects from Aadhaar enrolment. Assam has 96,987 D-Voters, according to information from the Election Commission of India.

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