Assam Congress forsakes counter-offensive in Ripun case

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Guwahati, June 8 (UNI) The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has replaced its counter-offensive line of defence in the aftermath of arrest of its senior Cabinet Minister Ripun Bora with that of a softer hue, with the party trying to distance itself from the accused minister.

State government spokesperson Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma today said the Congress would offer all help and support to the investigation process, after APCC chief Bhubaneswar Kalita suspended Mr Bora from primary membership of the party last evening.

Mr Bora was arrested in New Delhi on June 3 while trying to offer a bribe of Rs 10 lakh to a CBI sleuth investigating the murder of a student leader Daniel Topno in 2000, in which Mr Bora is a suspect.

He was immediately sacked from the state Cabinet the same evening.

Though the APCC chief had refused to suspend him from the party initially, yesterday's reversal is suspected to have come owing to the negative signal the chief's decision had sent out to the public.

Moreover, the AICC was also not pleased with the party's continued association with the tarnished leader, who holds tremendous presence at the grassroots level in northern Assam.

Dr Sharma said the Chief Minister had instructed the ministers to concentrate on the development work and abide for the law to take its course.

On Mr Bora's allegations that an Assam minister and MP had framed him, he said, ''He is in custody now. Once he is set free, the party as well as the government will look into any allegation he has to make then.'' Dr Sharma said the Assembly ethics committee would decide on retaining Mr Bora as a member of the Assembly.

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