Taking strong cognizance of findings of corruption cases and massive financial irregularities in directorate of economics and statistics in the state, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has issued direction to the departmental officials to take stern action against those involved in such corrupt practices.

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As many as 27 officials and staff of the directorate were suspended after reports of rampant corruption surfaced after director of financial inspections (DFI) conducted an enquiry in the aftermath of receiving complains of irregularities in the office.

Under 13th finance commission grant, the directorate of economics and statistics under the planning and development department was provided Rs 5.4 crore annually to achieve certain milestones set by the ministry of statistics and program implementation, for the five years duration from 2010-2011 to 2014-15. The aim was to improve the statistical system at the state.

However against the amount, the directorate could draw a total of Rs 10.8 crore only in two installments (Rs 5.4 crore each) in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and provided utilization certificate for the same. Suspecting some wrongdoing, planning and development department asked the finance department, which is overall responsible for finance commission grants, to conduct an enquiry on the matter.

Following that, the DFI detected serious irregularities and lapses on the part of the officers and staff of the directorate of economics & statistics including misappropriation of government fund. It was seen that government money was illegally deposited in the personal accounts of many of the officers and staff of the directorate.

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DFI recommended in its report that the planning and development department should ensure that the entire amount be recovered and deposited to the state exchequer. Also, 10 officers and 17 staff members of the directorate were suspended.

The chief minister on April 3 directed swift completion of departmental proceedings.

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