CBI Arrests Former Assam CM Hiteswar Saikia’s Son Ashok Saikia in Alleged Loan Default Case

A senior Congress leader alleged that the CBI is being "used" by the BJP-led Union government to harass leader of the opposition Debabrata Saikia, Ashok Saikia's brother

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New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday arrested Ashok Saikia, son of former Assam chief minister Hiteswar Saikia, in connection with a 25-year-old alleged loan default case of around Rs 9 lakh, officials said.

The action came after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him for non-appearance in court despite summons, they said.

Ashok Saikia, who was questioned by the Guwahati team of the CBI, was put under arrest and will be produced in court on Monday, the officials added.

When contacted, his elder brother and Leader of Opposition in the Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia told PTI that Ashok Saikia was taken away by a team of CBI officials in the evening.

“I do not know whether he has been arrested or detained. In fact, I do not know where he has been taken. This is a very old case and was duly settled. The bank did not inform the court and it was the bank’s fault,” the senior Congress leader added.

Ashok Saikia, a businessman by profession, issued a statement through his elder brother and said that he had availed the loan in 1996 from The Assam State Co-operative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank Ltd (ASCARD).

“Later, I repaid the loan as per an ASCARD letter in 2011. The ASCARD general manager in-charge through an official letter, dated October 28, 2015, had stated that no dues were pending. The CBI team suddenly came to our house and said my loan is pending. I did not receive any notice from the CBI or the court.

“I do not know why the CBI has brought me in a baseless and fictitious case. Only the CBI or the government will know this,” the businessman said.

Debabrata Saikia also shared the ASCARD certificate, issued by its General Manager-in-Charge H N Borah on October 28, 2015, which had mentioned that Ashok Kr Saikia, director of HPS India Pvt Ltd, had availed a loan of Rs 9,37,701 under the bridge loan scheme in 1996.

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“As per our letter Ref. No. ASCARDB (L/C) 192/2002/61 dated 14.09.2011 under the compromise settlement scheme he has fully repaid the dues both principal and interest. Now his aforesaid loan is liquidated,” the purported certificate from the ASCARD said.

The authenticity of the said certificate could not be verified immediately.

Debabrata Saikia further said, “The CBI claimed that they had sent a notice. My mother, who lives with Ashok, stays at home all the time and she said no notice came to us. Our advocate said that this case should not have been pursued at all. I do not know why such an old settled case is being raked up.”

A senior Congress leader alleged that the CBI is being “used” by the BJP-led Union government to harass the leader of the opposition after his strong statement on Saturday in connection with the claims of state BJP leaders on switching sides to the saffron party.

“Saikia yesterday said that he would never join the BJP and his name was speculated just to demoralise Congress workers. The BJP is now using the CBI to intimidate Saikia. This is the tactic of the BJP across the country,” the Congress leader told PTI on the condition of anonymity.