Millennium Post

81-yr-old ex-Nagaland CS convicted in arms case

81-yr-old ex-Nagaland CS convicted in arms case

New Delhi: Thirty-three years after registering an Arms Act case, the Central Bureau of Investigation has secured a conviction against 81-year-old Surinder Singh Ahluwalia, a former Chief Secretary of Nagaland recently. A Delhi court has held the IAS officer guilty in the case and sentenced the octogenarian to undergo five years in prison along with a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh.

Interestingly, the CBI had started probing allegations against Ahluwalia after the then Nagaland government had referred his case to P Chidambaram, who was then the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs.

Nagaland's erstwhile Chief Minister Hokisha Sema had written to the Union Home Ministry alleging that Ahluwalia had amassed assets disproportionate to his known sources of income and during this probe the CBI had found that the bureaucrat had amassed assets worth nearly Rs 68 lakh in the 1980s during an 18-year check period.

While CBI sleuths were searching his premises in connection with the disproportionate assets case, officials had found four firearms at his Delhi premises and one at his Kohima home along with hundreds of live cartridges.

Ahluwalia had the licence for only three of the firearms. Officials here said the CBI had recovered one .38 bore rifle with 74 cartridges, one NP Pistol with 32 cartridges, one .275 bore rifle, one carbine with 200 cartridges and one .22 bore rifle made in Czechoslovakia with 22 cartridges.

Ahluwalia was a 1969-batch IAS officer and has held several senior posts in the Government of Nagaland, including that of the Chief Secretary to the State. He was also served as the Director of Police Division, under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs at one point of time. Before being inducted into the IAS, Ahluwalia was also an Officiating Captain in the Indian Army after being commissioned as an Emergency Commission Officer in 1964. But the senior retired civil servant had several allegations of corruption levelled against him by the late 1980s. The Nagaland CM's letter to Chidambaram in 1986 had said that Ahluwalia had engaged in several corrupt practices since being inducted into the IAS.

According to court documents, CM Hokisha Sema had written that Ahluwalia had acquired several properties across the country with income not known to be his. This included an air-conditioned cinema hall in Agra, a residential property in Delhi's South Extension-II registered to on Kamaljit Walia, another residential property in Delhi's Greater Kailash area and landed properties in Gwalior and Chandigarh.

The CBI had registered the arms case against Ahluwalia in 1987 and duly filed a chargesheet against him in the summer of 1992 after completing its investigation. However, the court framed charges against him only in 2010 and now 19 years later he has been convicted and sentenced.

Despite the fact that Ahluwalia had approached the Delhi High Court in 1991 to get the FIRs against him quashed, citing that the consent granted to the CBI by the State's Chief Minister was not maintainable, judges Arun Kumar and Milap Chandra Jain had dismissed the petition, allowing the CBI to continue with its probe, after which it has pursued the case for 33 years to secure a conviction.

Abhinay Lakshman

Abhinay Lakshman

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