MORIGAON: Assam minister Pijush Hazarika, who allegedly threatened two journalists of dire consequences, has been issued a notice to appear before police and his call recordings have been sent to forensic lab for examination, officials said on Saturday.
Two FIRs filed at Jagiroad police station by the scribes have been merged, and Hazarika has been booked under Sections 500 (defamation), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC.
The minister, who is contesting from the Jagiroad constituency where polling took place in the second phase on Thursday, had allegedly threatened the two journalists for reporting about a controversial campaign speech by his wife.
"The statements of the journalists were recorded and a notice was issued to the minister in connection with the case. He has been asked to come to Jagiroad PS for recording his statement," Morigaon District Superintendent of Police Nanda Singh Borkala told PTI.
Hazarika, the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, said he will come to the police station on Sunday to give his statement, the SP said.
Borkala said the mobile phones of the scribes and that of Hazarika have been seized and the voice recordings of the conversation sent to a forensic laboratory in Guwahati.
"As per law and procedure, we will proceed in the case," he added.
In the FIR, the two journalists - Nazrul Islam and Tulsi Manta - of Assamese news channels claimed that Hazarika had threatened them with dire consequences at 1 pm on Thursday, when they were busy in poll coverage of the second phase in Morigaon district.
Police have also provided personal security cover to both the journalists.
Meanwhile, the IG (Law and Order) Deepak Kumar Kedia, who is the nodal officer of the state police for the ongoing Assam assembly elections, has sought a report from the district police on the case.
Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora has also filed a complaint with the state's chief electoral officer, demanding Hazarika's disqualification from the polls.
Other opposition parties like the AIUDF, Raijor Dal, Assam Jatiya Dal, AASU, AJYCP and several social groups also called for immediate disqualification of Hazarika from the elections.
The Gauhati Press Club (GPC) condemned the "act of intimidation" by Hazarika.
In an audio clip telecast by an Assamese news channel on Thursday, the minister can be heard threatening the scribes of dragging them out of their homes and making them "vanish".
The minister also said in the telephonic conversation, which has now gone viral, that he was "sad" because the news was related to his wife Aimee Baruah, who while campaigning for her husband a few days ago had made a controversial comment on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Baruah, at a recent public meeting in Jagiroad, had reportedly said the people from the Bengali community will be thrown out of the country if the CAA is not implemented.