Assam ADGP says being targeted. Appeals to Modi, Sonowal
It seems all is not right in Assam Police. Rajkumar Chandranathan, Additional Director General of Police (Communication) alleged he was being targeted by some senior police officers in the state.
He acted on allegations of criminal misconduct and corruption against several top officials as ADGP (Anti-corruption and Vigilance) from 2012-2015, Chandranathan claimed in a strongly worded statement Tuesday. Now, the same officials have ganged up against him, he alleged.
Chandranathan, a 1986-batch officer of the Indian Police Service, was in-charge of CID, vigilance and anti-corruption in Assam Police until recently. The rank of an ADGP is just a notch below a director general's, who head state police forces.
"I want the state government to safeguard me as a section of the senior police officers of the state, against whom I have done enquiries/investigations, have joined together in pursuance of a conspiracy to tarnish my public image by propaganda and slander in the form of false allegations and also by foisting false and highly malicious criminal charges against me," Chandranathan said. He was hopeful of getting help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal.
The top cop spoke to the media days after two FIRs were registered against him in Silchar.
The first FIR, registered on the orders of the court is on the grounds of criminal defamation and alleges that Chandranathan fabricated evidence against Inspector General of Police Anurag Agarwal, currently posted in Silchar, in an enquiry. The FIR alleges defamation and fabrication of evidence among other charges.
According to sources, the first FIR pertains to an enquiry on Agarwal's role in the rhino horn trade. Earlier, the SP of the Karbi Anglong District had written to the DGP that Agarwal, during his tenure in Karbi Anglong, was patronising one Alex Singh who was known to be involved in extortion and rhino horn smuggling. And that the Karbi Anglong Police had provided Singh with personal security officers.
The report of the preliminary enquiry is said to be pending with the Assam government for over a year now even though Agarwal had moved court against the government's move.
Chandranathan, during his stint in the anti-corruption and vigilance department, is known to have initiated investigations in several high-profile cases involving police officials, including the 2014 recruitment scam and the Saradha scam, among others.
Agarwal is not new to controversies in Assam. He earlier alleged that during his tenure as the ADGP (Vigilance), Chandranathan tried to block three gallantry medals by initiating a vigilance enquiry against him.
While the preliminary enquiry was later quashed after Agarwal moved the high court, the Chief Justice in the judgement had noted that the matter of gallantry medals was not relevant to the case.
The enquiry Chandranathan initiated against Agarwal pertained to the alleged devaluation of a plot of land measuring 4.6 bighas in Guwahati's Noonmati area.
The allegation was that the property has been purchased after paying a stamp duty of Rs 15 lakh per bigha as against the circle rate of Rs 75 lakh per bigha.
Agarwal's counsel had argued that the rate of Rs 75 lakh per bigha was for properties within 200 metres of the main road and that particular plot of land did not fall into that category.
Sources point out that devaluation was not the only issue with the said plot and that there were other issues as well including the fact that the title of the property was itself disputed and the measurement of the plot too had anomalies.
Moreover, the enquiry was pending since 2005 and was initiated during Chandranathan's tenure after seeking permission from the government in 2012.
The government after looking at the report of the preliminary enquiry had recommended a regular enquiry, which could not proceed since the preliminary enquiry was quashed by the high court.
The other FIR against Chandranathan - also filed in Silchar on the orders of the court - has been filed on a complaint made by Sujit Kumar Paul who alleged Chandranathan of corruption in a 2009 constable recruitment drive by the Assam Police.
This FIR comes a good seven years after the incident is supposed to have taken place.
The recruitment which was earlier challenged by Paul and several others in the High Court, did not lead to a favourable judgement for them. They later appealed against the judgement, which too didn't work in their favour forcing them to file a review petition which is pending in the court.
Chandranathan, in his statement claims, that the matter already is "pending in the high court has been twisted, falsified, and filed as a criminal case."
Chandranathan, in his statement, alleged that foisting criminal cases is a strategy to slow down the enquiries/investigations started during his tenure and that he had apprised the state government of all his moves beforehand.
"I am also very confident that I will get the support from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who are both protagonists of SMART policing and zero tolerance against corruption," Chandranathan said in the statement.
Edited by Jhinuk Sen