File image of Rajib Sarma

Assam Police on Friday announced a CID investigation into the arrest of a journalist in Dhubri on charges of extortion and misbehavior with the wife of a district Forest official.

This was informed G P Singh, ADGP (Law & Order) of the State.

Rajib Sarma, a Dhubri based journalist working for an electronic channel was arrested from his residence in Gauripur town at 2 am on Thursday.

Hours after his arrest, his 64-year-old ailing father died due to cardiac arrest.

The journalist’s arrest triggered a massive row across the State, following which the district superintendent of police and the divisional forest officer (DFO) were transferred, the officials said.

Also read: Dhubri scribe arrested in cattle smuggling case; Guwahati Press Club seeks CM’s intervention

Dhubri DFO Biswajit Roy had lodged a police complaint against Sarma accusing him of extortion and misbehaving with his wife.

Sarma did a series of news reports claiming that cattle smuggling in Dhubri district was thriving on the alleged nexus between the DFO and district police.

“The case of the arrest of a local journalist of an electronic media has been transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department for a proper probe,” Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) G P Singh told reporters in Dhubri on Friday.

The police officer visited the residence of Sarma to convey condolences to the bereaved family.

Singh also visited the Dhubri police station.

On Friday, a local court granted Sarma an interim bail to complete the last rites of his father.

The ADGP said the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Cell will be investigating the DFO”s case separately and it will be unrelated to the criminal case against the journalist.

He also said that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) will be formed to inquire about the role of Dhubri district police in cattle smuggling cases in the last two years.

“I have done the preliminary inquiry today and will submit my findings to the DGP and the chief minister by tonight,” the ADGP said.

The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress also condemned Sarma”s arrest.

A party delegation met state chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and submitted a memorandum denouncing the arrest and seeking an impartial probe into the case.

The Guwahati Press Club too sought the chief minister’s intervention in the matter so that the scribe”s family is not harassed unnecessarily.

Meanwhile, the Assam government transferred Dhubri Superintendent of Police Yuvraj to 1st Assam Police Battalion at Ligiripukhuri as its commandant. Charaideo”s SP Anand Mishra replaced him.

Special Branch SP Shwetank Mishra will take charge as Charaideo SP, a Home Department notification said.

The Environment and Forest Department also transferred the Dhubri district forest officer to the Genetic Cell Division in Guwahati.

The current DFO of the Genetic Cell Division, P V Trimbak, will be posted to Dhubri, according to an order.

Mukesh Kr Singh

Mukesh Kr Singh is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dhubri. He can be reached at: mkdhubri@gmail.com