The three-year-old Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government in Meghalaya has been steeped in a number of alleged scams and controversies, and problems don’t seem to be ending for the Conrad Sangma-led government.
The opposition party, Congress, has asserted that it is high time to remove Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma over alleged corruption in the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL).
“I appeal to all the like-minded and right thinking people in the government – let us not delay and it is time to remove the Chief Patron who is the Chief Minister if we are really serious to save our beautiful state before it is too late,” Congress spokesperson and Rangsakona legislator, Zenith Sangma, said in a statement issued on Monday.
“We will also place this issue before the court of the people (Janta ki Adalat) for its judgement after all the people are the owners of everything,” he added.
Zenith, who is also Rangsakona legislator, said that the recent news report about the CAG stating that there are anomalies in the implementation of Saubhagya scheme resulting in the loss of more than 149 crores is “an eye opener for everybody”.
“I have been raising the same issue for the last two years both inside and outside the House. Now when the watchdog of our democratic system of our great nation is finding something wrong the Chief Minister is again in denial mode,” he said.
Stating that the Independent Inquiry Committee constituted by the government is only an eye wash, Zenith alleged that the technical member of the committee is a retired Executive Director of REC Ltd, who has good connection with the company – M/s Satnam Global Infra Ltd – which was awarded with Saubhagya and many other schemes.
“How can it be independent when they know each other having a good connection?” he asked.
“Therefore, without any reasonable doubt we can foresee that the report of the Inquiry can be biased. That was the reason we were demanding that it should be handed over to the CBI for investigation. Now we can easily understand that the Chief Minister will never hand it over to CBI because everything is done under his patronage,” Zenith added.
On CM’s refusal to relieve the incumbent Power Minister James K Sangma, the Congress leader said, “I simply don’t agree with the statement of the Chief Minister that sacking Power Minister James Sangma would undermine the inquiry. It is rubbish and there is no logic in this. How can MeECL be independent when everything is interfered?”
Zenith said that from day one, James Sangma being Minister in charge and having the supreme executive power in the Power Department interfered and dictated.
Starting from appointing junior officers as CMD, keeping many of the key posts vacant for long so that same single person can occupy two or three posts and when any of them did not comply with his (their) needs, transferring the officer within short period and bringing in someone whom they can get things done under pressure, he added.
Alleging that the Board of Directors is not having full strength, Zenith said that till now there is no representative from Planning and Finance departments adding the former CMD is still Director Finance who is also still one of the Directors in the Board.
He recalled that one-woman Independent Director resigned from the Board for open interference and forcing the Board to work on controversial issues involving corruption.
“Pension was stopped; then again it was released. Outsourced a certain section of the management; then again it is stopped. Payment is not made to small local contractors but payment is always made to their favoured big contractors/firms from outside by any means – even by taking loans at high interest rate,” he said.
Zenith said the decision taken to mortgage the land and other assets of MeECL and leasing out the same to the outside companies – all these are the reflections of lack of proper management and interference from above just to fulfil the greed of few.
“These are all done under the patronage of the Chief Minister. Their focus is not on increasing revenue. Their priority and focus is on tendering and allotment of works allegedly to their favoured contractors/firms,” he said.
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