Handicraft body seeks action

GUWAHATI, May 12 – Following a Gauhati High Court order to that effect, the Assam Apex Handicraft Marketing Cooperative Society Ltd (CRAFTFED) has urged the State Government to initiate criminal proceedings and prosecute the persons involved in the Anti-Corruption case No. 2/2003 relating to swindling of Central funds. It may be recalled that during the tenure of its earlier managing committee, there was large-scale defalcation and mismanagement of Central assistance funds, for which no proper utilisation certificate could be provided. Subsequently, Anti-corruption branch case No. 2/2003 under Sec 409/420/468/471 read with Sec 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered and further financial assistance to the society was stopped.As sufficient progress was not made in the investigations in the case, which also resulted in the discontinuance of Central assistance, the applicant society filed a writ petition (WP (c) No. 1834/2006) in the High Court, inter alia praying for an early conclusion to the criminal proceedings besides another appropriate proceeding to recover the misappropriated amount. In the writ proceeding, an affidavit was also filed by the Superintendent of Police, Vigilance and Anti-corruption Department, stating that the investigation in the anti-corruption case was over but prosecution could not be initiated due to absence of appropriate sanction. The Development Commissioner (Handicraft), Ministry of Textiles, Govt of India, also filed an affidavit stating that further assistance could be revived only upon completion of the investigations and prosecution of the persons involved in the misappropriation. At the time of hearing of the petition, an instruction that necessary sanction had been granted for prosecution was produced.The court, by its order dated January 28, 2008, directed that prosecution of the persons prima facie found to have been involved in the commission of the offence in the anti-corruption case No. 2/2003 would be the next logical step, and that the prosecution agency, therefore, should proceed accordingly.The court further directed that the State Government might take necessary action under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 1994 for recovery of the defalcated/misappropriated amount.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
By A Staff Reporterwww.assamtribune.com

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