One of the two PHE officials (second from right) caught accepting bribe in Assam’s Lakhimpur district on Tuesday Credit: Rishu Kalantri

Tinsukia: Two officials from the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department of North Lakhimpur division in Assam were arrested by the anti-corruption bureau on Tuesday for demanding and taking bribe.

The accused, senior assistant Rohini Gogoi (57) and accounts officer Ajit Sonowal (54), had allegedly demanded bribe from the son of a retired Grade IV employee of the office to facilitate his father’s leave salary payment that has been due since his retirement.

According to sources, based on the complaint by Makhan Saikia, who approached the anti-corruption branch in the directorate of vigilance & anti-corruption department, a trap was laid and the duo were arrested red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from the complainant.

“The accused were arrested after being caught red-handed while accepting the bribe which has been recovered from the possession of the accused,” the source added.

A Grade IV employee, Tularam Saikia, had retired from his service on March 11, 2017 while Rohini Gogoi was harassing him and denied his leave salary for non-payment of bribe amounting to 30% of the total amount of money.

“Tularam Saikia died on February 2, 2018 without receiving the retirement benefits,” the source said, adding: “The accused did not even spare his son and he along with the accounts officer kept on harassing the complainant by enhancing the demand to the tune of Rs 1 lakh for payment of leave salary.”

When contacted, IGP, directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption, Anurag Tankha said, “The department will take strictest action as per law on each and every case related to corruption.”

“I appeal the citizens to come forward and share information of corruption cases with senior officers of the directorate so that the department can arrest corrupt officials,” Tankha added.

The toll-free  numbers of the directorate and the senior officers are available on the website,  he informed.

Residents can call 0361-2462294, 0361 2462295, 8468832675, 9854032882, 18003453767 (toll free) to share information and lodge complaints.

“In the present complaint, a case has been registered at ACB police station u/s 7(a) of Prevention of Corruption act, 1988 (as amended 2018) and is investigation is on,” Tankha added. The accused persons residents are being interrogated and they should be produced before the special court in Guwahati on Wednesday.

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