BLACK DIAMOND SCAM
Eastern Panorama|August 2020
CBI INVESTIGATION ON
Jyoti Lal Chowdhury

Media of Barak and Brahmaputra valleys have umpteen times brought into light the clandestine business in coal and Burmese betel nut, depriving the state exchequer of huge revenue. CBI did start investigation on the directive of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal nearly two years ago. But, quite mysteriously, it halted after making some progress. Considering the serious ramification of the scam, a border resident Ajit Basumatary, prepared a detailed representation on the widespread network of black diamond racket spreading from the Sutarkandi check gate of Karimganj to Khliehriat, Dawki and Guwahati to involvement of high and low administrative as well as police officials, political leaders and a surfeit of traders. The representation was submitted to PK Musahary, Chairperson, Lokayukta, Meghalaya, who advised the CBI to take up the investigation.

According to a reliable source, the CBI has started investigation from the originating point of Khliehriat. This has sent shivers down the spine of the officials and the leaders of Barak valley in particular who have been playing second fiddle to the illegal trade. Within an ambit of probe are 70 officials, individuals and other 100 associated persons. Under political patronage and official back up, the illegal trade has cost the government of Assam and Meghalaya huge revenue loss of an estimated Rs 1000 crore and it continues to mount since the clandestine business has been going on since 2015. Even on this date, the illegal trade goes on as reported from the Assam-Meghalaya border entry point of Malidahar.

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