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Meghalaya governor warns probe into non submission accounts by three councils

Malik said necessary action needs to be taken, if required a probe, on the reason behind the non submission of accounts to the CAG for the past few years. 

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Shillong: Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday said an inquiry could be possibly instituted to probe non submission of accounts by the three autonomous district councils  to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Malik said necessary action needs to be taken, if required a probe, on the reason behind the non submission of accounts to the CAG for the past few years. 

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The district councils have also not been tabling the CAG report in the council sessions.

According to the Raj Bhavan, the Governor received a letter from the CAG on Wednesday regarding the non submission of accounts.  

“Governor Satya Pal Malik received a letter on 8th June, 2022 relating to the matter of non submission of accounts by the district councils over a period of few successive years and non-tabling of reports of CAG in the district councils,” Commissioner and Secretary to Governor, Pravin Bakshi said. 

Malik immediately took up the matter with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma the next day over the phone. 

Malik has also sent a Demi Official letter to the Chief Minister urging him to ensure timely and correct preparation of accounts by the concerned district councils.

In the letter to Malik, the CAG pointed out as many as ten accounts — two of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) , three of Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) and five of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) are still pending for submission as on December 31, 2021. The GHADC has not submitted accounts from 2016-17 to 2020-21, the JHADC has not submitted accounts from 2018-19 to 2020-21 while the KHADC is yet to submit the accounts for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

The CAG also revealed that the deficiencies in the autonomous district councils were communicated to Chief Secretary RV Suchiang on March 17, 2022, the Chief Executive Members of the respective Councils on March 23, 2022 and Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on March 30, but no action was taken by any of the authorities.  

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the District Council Affairs Minister Lahkmen Rymbui himself had conducted a meeting and the department had instructed and written to the different ADCs to reply and give a detailed report on the matter.

“But none of the replies have come yet from them. So we are awaiting a reply from them on this,” Sangma said.

Over the recent past, there have been several allegations of corruption in the district councils. 

The BJP which is an ally in the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government has levelled allegations of corruption in the councils, especially in the Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills district councils.

According to the BJP, funds amounting to crores have been embezzled under the Special Assistance Grants and the party has earlier sought a CBI probe into the allegations and also wanted a proper audit of the accounts from the period 2015 to 2020.

“If required and upon consultation with the Chief Minister an inquiry could also be conducted on the lapses in the district councils,” Malik said. 

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