Shillong: Meghalaya’s opposition Congress has demanded the removal of Chief Minister Conrad 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,” senior Congress legislator, Zenith Sangma said.
In a statement issued on Monday, Sangma, who is also the Congress Spokesperson, said, “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.
Describing the Independent Inquiry Committee constituted by the government as an “eyewash”, Sangma claimed that one of 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,” the senior Congress legislator 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,” he added.
On Chief Minister’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 would undermine the inquiry. It is rubbish and there is no logic in this. How can MeECL be independent when everything is interfered.”
Pointing out that James Sangma, being Minister in charge and having the supreme Executive Power in the Power Department “interfered” and “dictated”, the former Congress minister said, “… from appointing junior officers as CMD (of MeECL), 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 a short period and bringing in someone whom they can get things done under pressure.”
“The former CMD is still Director Finance who is also still one of the Directors in the Board. One woman Independent Director resigned from the Board for open interference and forcing the Board to work on controversial issues involving corruption,” he said.
Sangma said the decision taken to mortgage the land and other assets of MeECL and leasing out the same to the outside companies 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 the revenue. Their priority and focus is on tendering and allotment of works allegedly to their favoured contractors/firms,” the Congress legislator alleged.
“We will also place this issue before the Court of the people (Janta ki Adalat) for its judgment after all the people are the owners of everything,” Sangma stated in the statement.