Gautam Baruah, former officiating chairman of Assam Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board, had been absconding since 2017; arrested from Delhi
Tinsukia: The sleuths of directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption branch (ACB) arrested Gautam Baruah, the prime accused in a case related to misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 121 crore of Assam Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (ABOCWWB) in Guwahati, from a rented accommodation in New Delhi on Monday evening.
Baruah held the position as the officiating chairman of the welfare board in Guwahati from 2011 to 2017.
According to a statement issued by ACB, a team of officers had been camping in New Delhi for last five days after the location of the accused was tracked to the North East guest house in Krishna Nagar area of Safdarjung enclave. "Accordingly, the surveillance teams were launched with assistance of Delhi Police crime branch and the accused was identified and brought to local police station of crime branch PS at Daryaganj where he was arrested," said the statement.
In the statement, the ACB said that the case was registered on the basis of a complaint lodged by IAS officer Tapan Sarma, the then labour commissioner-cum member secretary of Assam Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, Guwahati. "The complaint stated about the forgery and large scale misappropriation of board funds by his predecessor member secretary and Chairman."
"On the basis of an inquiry conducted in CMs special vigilance cell in 2017, a case was registered vide Vigilance PS (case number 09/2017) under section 120(B)/406/409/468/471/420 IPC R/W Sec 13(2) of P.C Act of 1988," the ACB said.
The statement added, "During investigation, it has been established that there was a criminal conspiracy by IAS officer Chohan Doley -- the then member secretary of ABOCWWB, Gautam Baruah -- the then Chairman ABOCWWB, Nagendra Nath Choudhury -- the then administrative officer of ABOCWWB and Priyangshu Boiragi -- proprietor of M/S. Purbashree Printing House."
"The criminal conspiracy resulted 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," the ACB added.
In the statement, ACB said that accordingly, the accused Chohan Doley, Nagendra Nath Choudhury, and Priyangshu Boiragi were arrested in 2017 and a charge sheet 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."
"Despite repeated notices to appear before investigation, Baruah evaded the investigating agency and absconded along with his wife from their usual place of stay in Guwahati since 2017. A non-bailable warrant of arrest had also been issued against him last year by the special court at Guwahati and 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 CM’s Special Vigilance Cell for any information leading to his arrest," the ACB said.
The ACB added that the investigation team had been in close liaison with Delhi Police for over one year, in tracking the absconder, after getting inputs regarding his whereabouts in New Delhi, a source in ACB said, adding, the arrested accused shall be produced before the local court in New Delhi, for seeking transit remand, for bringing him before the special court in Guwahati.