The Assam government on Wednesday registered a case against Prateek Hajela, the former coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for his alleged role in the anomalies that took place in publishing the final draft of the controversial list.
The state government filed the case taking suo moto cognizance of the matter. The decision of the state government came following the report submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
The CAG report exposed several anomalies in the updating process of the NRC list. Speaking about the matter today, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Prateek Hajela should take voluntary retirement (VRS).
CM Sarma said, “It would be better if Prateek Hajela took VRS. It would be a victory for the people of Assam if he took VRS.”
It may be noted that in May 2021, an FIR had been lodged with Assam Police’s CID branch against Prateek Hajela, who had led the updating and publication of the controversial document under the supervision of the Supreme Court with antinational act for facilitating entry of names of ineligible persons as Indian citizens in the document.
The NRC authority has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court seeking a comprehensive and time-bound re-verification of the published NRC on the ground that major irregularities have been committed while preparing the document.
Meanwhile, the BJP-led government in the state also sought re-verification- 20% of the data in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10% of the data in interior districts.
Notably, the process of updating the NRC of 1951 was started in 2015 under Prateek Hajela, the final list of which was published in August 2019. The final list includes names of 3,11,21,004 persons and left out names of 19,06,657 persons.
The FIR said that it is suspected that despite the mandate of the Supreme Court of India for an error free NRC, the then state coordinator Prateek Hajela may have intentionally avoided the mandatory quality check by ordering use of a software which prevented quality check and facilitated entry of names of ineligible persons into NRC, which can be seen as an anti-national act affecting the national security.
The FIR has also named few other officers and data entry operators who are alleged to have “conspired” along with Hajela.