Sacked Assam minister in jail, expelled from Congress (Second Lead)

June 7th, 2008 - 10:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati/New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) Sacked Assam education minister Ripun Bora was jailed Saturday and expelled from the state’s ruling Congress party. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested him on bribery charges Tuesday. “We have decided to expel Bora as he went against the interest of the party,” Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Bhubaneswar Kalita said.

Bora was Saturday remanded to judicial custody till June 21 after he was arrested red handed Tuesday while trying to give a bribe of Rs.1 million to a CBI official investigating the murder of Daniel Topno, a political leader, in 2000.

Bora was dropped from the Assam cabinet hours after he was arrested by the CBI on Tuesday. He was arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act from a guest house in New Delhi.

The expulsion from the Congress came after mounting pressure from the opposition asking the party to take stern action against the sacked minister.

In New Delhi, Bora, along with co-accused Mukul Pathak and R.K. Maheshwari, was presented before Special Judge S.P. Garg, who sent them to judicial custody.

I.U. Khan, counsel for Bora, had earlier moved bail applications for the sacked minister and other co-accused.

In its reply, the the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) contended that the investigations were in initial stages and the accused could try to influence the probe.

“The accused can tamper with evidences and can influence the witnesses, who are yet to be examined and documents related to the case are yet to be traced, so giving him bail at this stage will hamper the investigation,” the CBI stated in its reply.

The court refused to hear the bail plea Saturday and posted the matter for Monday.

Defence counsel also moved an application in the court asking for a legal interview with the accused, which the court allowed for 10 minutes.

The CBI alleged that Bora, in his bid to wriggle out of the probe against him in the 1996 murder of Topno, a Congress leader in northern Assam’s Gohpur town, tried to bribe Deputy Superintendent of Police A.B. Gupta, who was apparently probing whether Bora had any role in the murder.

According to the agency, Borah, along with conduit Pathak, had come to Delhi June 2 and invited the official to a hotel at Sunder Nagar in south Delhi. Pathak used to work for an Assamese newspaper.

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