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India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has revived an alleged US$90mn letter of credit (LC) scam in which several senior politicians in the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP – Assam Peoples Association) party are implicated, according to ICC publication DCPro.
Charge sheets have been filed against 37 people in the northeastern Indian state of Assam for their alleged involvement in the scam, says DCPro.
The case apparently centres on the practice of offering credit, usually LCs, to contractors for work undertaken for the government. The department managing the work sanctions payment and money is subsequently withdrawn from the treasury by the contractor.
Some observers believe that government contractors have been routinely able to submit LCs for hugely inflated amounts because, so it is alleged, they have done so with the knowledge of ministers who receive a share of the proceeds, claims DCPro.
Several top AGP politicians and associates are among those charged this week. They include former veterinary minister Dilip Saikia, former labour minister Barki Prasad Telenga, former chief minister Hiteswar Saikia’s son Debabrata Saikia, and a civil servant, Chandra Kamal Bhuyan.
According to persistent reports in the local media, some very senior politicians as well as former holders of high office have been involved, not just in this scam, but also in similar ones in the state of Assam and the state of Bihar.