Assam minister nabbed for bribing CBI official (Lead)

June 3rd, 2008 - 10:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Guwahati, June 3 (IANS) Assam’s Education Minister Ripun Bora was arrested in the national capital Tuesday while allegedly trying to give a bribe of Rs.1 million to a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official investigating a murder. “Bora has been arrested red handed while he was trying to give a bribe of Rs.10 lakh (Rs.1 million) to a CBI official,” the bureau said. He was arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Sources said a Guwahati-based journalist of an Assamese daily has also been arrested along with Bora. Another person, said to be a businessman, too has been detained by the CBI.

But officially the CBI has said that only one person has been arrested.

“Along with the (state) cabinet minister, a middleman was arrested at Guwahati. Bora approached the CBI official through the middleman,” a CBI official said.

The minister’s arrest sent political shock waves in Assam with reports indicating that Bora may be dropped from Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s cabinet.

“The law will take its own course. No one is above the law,” Gogoi, who is in New Delhi on an official visit, told IANS.

The CBI is investigating the 1996 murder of Daniel Topno, a Congress leader in northern Assam’s Gohpur town, and was apparently probing whether Bora had any role in the murder.

Opposition parties in Assam have condemned the alleged attempt by Bora to bribe officials of the country’s apex investigating agency.

“This incident is unprecedented in Assam’s electoral history,” Dilip Saikia, vice president of the main opposition Asom Gana Parishad said.

Bora is expected to be produced at the Patiala House courts in Delhi Wednesday.

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