New Delhi,Sep 25 (): Assam Rifles’ top brass were caught taking bribes in a sting operation by Tehelka SIT team.
The magazine through an ex-Jawan who is a contractor registered with the Assam Rifles had helped the SIT in exposing the well oiled mechanism of corruption that exists in the Assam Rifles, the oldest unit of Indian Army.
Assam Rifles was started 179 years back and described as custodians of law. The Assam Rifles had many names before it took the present role in 1917. The main role is to maintain law and order and guard the Indo-Myanmar border. The main problem lies in the fighting between many tribes in and around Assam. It has 46 battalions under its command.
The Defence ministry had allotted Rs 3000 crore towards Assam Rifles in the current financial. Tehelka showed the visuals on its TV. The substance of the story in its entirety is that any construction work that is awarded to the contractor, Assam Rifles’ administrative office gets 30% commission starting from lower rung to top rung.
A contractor explaining the modus operandi says that even before the tender is allotted, around 12% goes off from the amount fixed. Rest of the money is paid in various stages of construction. The officers in rank of subedar and so on are openly shown taking money in the office and counting it. All of them are in their uniform.
The top officers in the rank of Lt. General to DG do not take the money directly but tell the contractor to give it to the subordinate. The subordinate too has to be given a bribe. The percentage varies from 1% which is for the official who opens the tender and approves it;as it goes down, it is around 0.5% of the sanctioned amount.
The contractor who went to pay the commission was told to pay the bribes of the earlier works and even collected the share for a General who has since been transferred. The officer called the General and told him the good news. A person who is on leave told the contractor to bring the money to his house in Guwahati.
The Tehelka team posed as a person wanting to get a licence to be a contractor. He was told to pay Rs 60,000. During A K Antony’s tenure too, Assam Rifles was involved in corruption charges and an inquiry was ordered but it did not see anyone get punished for it.
The sting operation has brought Tehelka back into focus. Its expose of arms deal during Vajpayee ministry led to then defense minister George Feranandes and BJP National president quitting.