Taking a dig at All Assam Student's Union (AASU) advisor Samujjal Bhattacharjya on Thursday, former National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) state coordinator in Assam Hitesh Dev Sarma has accused him of taking a bribe from Dev Sarma's predecessor, Prateek Hajela.
In an explosive allegation, Dev took to his Facebook account saying, "I was NRC state coordinator for more than two-and-a-half years. But, the AASU leadership never turned up to meet me despite that I unearthed the anomalies happened earlier during the NRC updation exercise. Samujjal Bhattacharjya used to visit the NRC state coordinator's office every afternoon when Hajela was in charge of the office. Why? The news in the market is that Samujjal Bhattacharjya took bribe of Rs 16 lakhs per month from Hajela to cover the anomalies happened in NRC exercise. I don't know the truth, but an investigation into this matter can reveal the details. However, it is true that Samujjal Bhattacharjya never demanded the reverification of the NRC. Both are the fellow passengers of the same boat."
In another Facebook post, the former NRC coordinator further alleged that AASU leadership believed that Hajela was an efficient officer and he was advised not to speak against Prateek Hajela by another AASU leader Basanta Deka.
Not only this, Dev Sarma whose being vocal about his stand on NRC exercise earlier filed a police complaint accusing his predecessor Hajela of treason for willfully permitting errors in the NRC draft list preparation process in May last year. Additionally, Hajela was charged with money laundering intended for the NRC exercise.
Dev Sarma succeeded Hajela in November 2019, a month after he left Assam to Madhya Pradesh on deputation. On July last year, Hitesh Dev Sarma retired from the post of NRC state coordinator.
Meanwhile, reacting to the allegation by Dev Sarma on social media, Samujjal Bhattacharjya told the media in New Delhi, "Hitesh Dev Sarma is a complete liar, and his claim that I had taken a bribe of 16 lakh rupees is totally false. He has lost his mental balance, and I would suggest that he consult a psychiatrist. I am going to file a defamation case against him after due consultation with my lawyer."
The students' body leader further said that AASU was the first petitioner in the Supreme Court to demand a re-verification of the whole NRC exercise since its inception.
Since the final draught list of citizens was released on August 31, 2019, the Supreme Court-monitored NRC effort to weed out "illegal immigrants" from Assam has been in halfway house.
It may be mentioned that of the 3.29 crore applicants, 19.06 lakh were excluded from the list due to doubts regarding their citizenship.