GUWAHATI: A day after the police seized over Rs 62 lakh from the official residence of Assam’s arrested Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Mahat Chandra Talukdar in Dhemaji district on Monday, sleuths of the anti-corruption and vigilance cell of the police on Tuesday seized over Rs 2 crore, besides gold ornaments weighing over one kilogram and bank documents, including 13 passbooks, from his private residence in Guwahati.
On Monday, over Rs 4 lakh, tiger and deer skin besides ivory parts were seized from the house during a raid.
Talukdar was arrested from his place of posting, northern Assam’s Dhemaji, on Monday while he was taking bribes of Rs 30,000 from the drivers of three sand-laden trucks. Later, the police raided his official residence and seized over Rs 62 lakh. Bundles of currency notes were kept concealed all over — in wardrobes, under a quilt and some rice containers.
“Money seized from his private residence on Tuesday was to the tune of more than Rs 2 crore. It was kept in two electronic lockers. The seized gold ornaments would possibly weigh over one kilogram,” an officer of the anti-corruption and vigilance cell told Express.
The DFO, who was brought to Guwahati on Tuesday, was produced in a local court, which sent him to a day’s police custody. It was learnt that he has real estate properties, worth several crores of rupees, in Guwahati and western Assam’s Nalbari district.
The police did not rule out his connivance with poachers. He had served in Kaziranga National Park from 1989-93, during which as many as 89 rhinos were killed by the poachers. A rhino horn could fetch as much as Rs1 crore from the international black market.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was in New Delhi on Tuesday, said the tainted officer would face the consequences.
“Action will be taken against him according to the law. The government will not tolerate any act of corruption,” he said.
Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said the arrested DFO could not get away. “He has been placed under suspension. We will go hard on all those who are involved in corrupt practices,” she said.
The Gauhati High Court had on Monday asked the state government to frame appropriate rules under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, empowering police to file charge-sheets in cases of wildlife crime.