Assam controversy

Guwahati, May 19: The untimely death of an Assam police sub-inspector, Junmoni Rabha, has sparked a political controversy, with the opposition Congress party demanding a central agency probe into the incident.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, however, has assured the policewoman’s family that they can opt for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation if they remain dissatisfied with the current probe conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Sarma emphasized that the state government has no objections to involving the CBI in the case.

Junmoni Rabha tragically lost her life in the early hours of Tuesday when her vehicle collided with a container truck in Nagaon district, Assam. Prior to the accident, she had been named as an accused in a case involving extortion and dacoity. The circumstances surrounding her death have raised questions, prompting her relatives to express doubts about the incident.

A video surfaced on Thursday featuring a man claiming to be an eyewitness to the accident. In the video, he alleged that the collision occurred between a stationary car in the correct lane and a truck that drove into it head-on. He also stated that he saw an individual leaving the car 10 minutes before the incident. The man was subsequently taken into police custody for questioning.

According to the police, Junmoni Rabha was alone in her private vehicle, dressed in civilian clothes, and appeared to be heading toward Upper Assam at the time of the accident. The container truck involved in the collision has been seized, but the driver reportedly fled the scene before the authorities arrived.

A police official provided details of the incident, stating that a patrol party arrived at the scene upon receiving information about the collision. They discovered Junmoni Rabha unconscious inside the vehicle and rushed her to the Koliabor Sub-Divisional Civil Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The family of the deceased sub-inspector has raised concerns about the circumstances leading to her death. They questioned why she left the house so late at night and expressed doubt about the reasons behind her solitary presence in the car during the early hours. Junmoni Rabha’s elder brother, Karuna Rabha, stated that there were ongoing issues and cases, casting further doubt on the situation.

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The Assam Director General of Police (DGP), GP Singh, confirmed that an FIR had been registered against Junmoni Rabha on May 15, in which she was named as an accused. The investigation was initially handled by the North Lakhimpur police and later transferred to the CID Assam following requests for a fair probe into both the FIR and Junmoni Rabha’s death.

The FIR against Rabha includes charges of criminal conspiracy, dacoity, wrongful confinement, and extortion. It was filed based on a complaint lodged by a resident of Lakhimpur, who alleged that Rabha and other accused individuals had demanded a sum of Rs 6 lakh from their family.

Junmoni Rabha was serving as a sub-inspector at the Morikolong police outpost in the Nagaon district. She had previously made headlines in May of the previous year when her fiancé was arrested for fraud, leading to her own arrest on corruption charges. After being remanded to judicial custody and suspended from her police duties, she was later reinstated following the lifting of her suspension.

Earlier that year, in January, she had also attracted attention when an audio recording of a purported telephonic altercation between her and a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) was leaked to the public.

As the investigation into Junmoni Rabha’s tragic demise continues, the involvement of a central agency, such as the CBI, remains a possibility to ensure a thorough and impartial examination of the case.