GUWAHATI, October 19: The ruling BJP in Assam has asked the government not to release IAS officer Prateek Hajela as long as he does not give an account of the expenditure of Rs.1,600 crore incurred in the process of the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The Supreme Court had on Friday ordered his immediate transfer to his home state Madhya Pradesh “for the maximum period permissible under the relevant rules/regulations” after he had apparently told the court about insecurity to his life.
As the NRC Assam coordinator, Hajela handled the entire updation process of the citizenship document which saw over 19 lakh people being left out.
“We all must honour the order of the Supreme Court. However, the government should not release Prateek Hajela till he submits documentary proofs of expenditure of Rs.1,600 crore incurred in the updation of the NRC,” BJP’s Assam unit president Ranjit Kumar Dass said.
He said the Centre and the Assam government should file an appeal in the apex court in this regard.
“A huge sum of money (allocated by the Centre) was spent in the name of the NRC but eventually we got nothing. He (Hajela) played with our burning problem,” Dass said.
Claiming that many genuine Indians were left out of the NRC, the Assam BJP president said the exclusion was on expected lines.
“If Hajela had done a good job, he would not have been transferred. He is talking about insecurity to his life. This means he has not done a good job. If he is transferred, it is unlikely that he will return to Assam,” Dass added.
The Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO which had first moved the apex court seeking the NRC’s updation, said Hajela should be punished for giving Assam an erroneous NRC. The APW was also critical of the expenses of Rs.1600 crore in the NRC process.
However, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) criticised the state government for its alleged failure to provide security to Hajela.
“The government itself is to be blamed if it cannot provide security to such a high-ranking official which necessitated his transfer…Instead of intimidating Hajela, the government can move the Supreme Court if it has anything to say against him,” AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said. (Courtesy: TNIE)