Assam court refuses to direct FIR against former state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela
The complainant alleged Hajela and two others siphoned off money to the tune of Rs 155 crore in the name of carrying out the exercise.
An Assam court has refused to direct the police to file a corruption case against former state National Register of Citizens coordinator Prateek Hajela.
The court said that it lacks the jurisdiction to investigate the allegations or to direct the police to file a first information report.
A complaint with the police against Hajela was filed by a Guwahati-based businessman named Luit Kumar Barman, who made the allegations based on a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Barman alleged that Hajela allocated the tasks of software development and the supply of data entry operators to information technology firm Wipro without inviting tenders, East Mojo reported. The government had engaged Wipro as a system integrator for this process, the complaint stated.
According to Barman, Wipro entered into a sub-contract with a firm named Integrated System Integrator and Services for updating the National Register of Citizens. He alleged that state authorities paid Wipro Rs 14,500 per month for every data entry operator but the operators received only Rs 5,500 each per month.
Barman alleged that Hajela, along with senior officials from Wipro and Integrated System Integrator and Services, siphoned off “a huge amount of public money to the tune of Rs 155 crore” in the name of updating the National Register of Citizens. He approached the court after the police did not file an FIR based on his complaint.
In its order, the court said that it lacks the jurisdiction to deal with the case as Barman’s allegation was in the nature of a public interest litigation. It also held that as the complainant’s personal rights had not been violated, he did not have a locus standi, or a right to file the case.
The process of updating the National Register of Citizens – a Supreme Court-monitored exercise – was meant to result in a list of Indian citizens living in Assam, sifted from undocumented migrants in the state. The process ended on August 31, 2019, when a purportedly final list was published with over 19 lakh applicants left out of the register.
The state government called the final draft of the National Register of Citizens “faulty” and claimed that it has excluded several indigenous people of Assam.