Shillong, Oct 3: The opposition All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) has accused the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) of blatantly lying about the value of its land assets in Meghalaya and Manipur in its annual audit report to the Election Commission of India.
AITC national spokesperson Saket Gokhale said in a statement issued on Monday also pointed out that NPP did not file election expenditure report.
The last audited financial report submitted by the NPP to the Election Commission was for 2020-21, Gokhale said.
As per the NPP’s audited financial report, it had fixed tangible assets, including land, worth Rs 1.31 lakh as of March 31, 2020. Then, as of March 31, 2021, NPP declared fixed tangible assets worth Rs 69.66 lakh. As of March 31, 2021, NPP has submitted that it was paying total rent costs of Rs 8.28 lakh. The amount for the previous year was Rs 5.26 lakh.
In the period between March 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021, NPP was allotted 10,000 sq ft of land by the Revenue department for their new office located near the Polo Grounds at Golf Links in Shillong.
Simultaneously, NPP inaugurated a new office building in Tura in the period 2020-21 as well as a new office building in Imphal, Manipur, in the same period.
Pointing out at the facts that raise serious red flags, Gokhale said the NPP as on March 31, 2021 had 3 land assets – 10,000 sq ft of revenue land at Polo grounds, Golf Links in Shillong, an office building in Tura, Meghalaya and an office building in Imphal.
However, NPP has claimed in their audited financial report submitted to the Election Commission that the combined value of the 3 assets is a total of ₹69.66 lakh, Gokhale added.
“Now, the average land rate at Golf Links is around Rs 5,500 to Rs 10,000 per sq ft. That’d bring the price of 10,000 sq ft of land allotted to NPP office to Rs 5.5 crore to Rs 10 crore. Moreover, it is unfathomable that 3 land parcels in Shillong, Tura, and Imphal where NPP offices are located are worth a total of only Rs 69.66 lakh,” Gokhale said.
He continued: “Now if the NPP claims that the offices in Tura and Imphal are rented and not owned, let us go back and look at the amount of “rent paid” declared in their audited financial reports. The amount the NPP claims to be paying for rent is Rs 8.28 lakh. Therefore, if the offices in Tura and Imphal are rented, NPP claims to be paying a total of Rs 8.28 lakh annually which comes to Rs 69,000 per month. It would be a miracle of sorts of NPP claims that the monthly rent for 2 large offices in Tura as well as Imphal together costs only Rs 69,000 per month.”
The AITC leader said it is clear, therefore, that the NPP has hidden and blatantly lied about the value of its land assets in their audit annual financial reports submitted to the Election Commission.
“The party has not only grossly under-declared the value of its land assets but has also not accounted for the asset price of the built-up offices on these lands in Shillong, Tura, and Imphal,” he said, while further alleging that the NPP has not filed its election expenditure report with the Election Commission of India for the 2018 Assembly Elections till date when the rules require the party to have filed those within 75 days of the elections in 2018.
“Not filing election expenditure reports and gross irregularities in their annual audited financials show that the NPP wants to hide its assets not only from the people of Meghalaya but also from the Election Commission,” Gokhale said.
Stating that NPP as a party does not have clean hands, Gokhale said, “Be it the police vehicle scam, the Meghalaya Assembly Dome collapse, irregularities in smart electricity meters, as well as a scam in the Saubhagya Scheme, the NPP-led proxy-BJP government has looted the people of Meghalaya for hundreds of crores.”
He also added, “It is no wonder that a party riddled with scams carries forward this culture of looting and cheating the people of Meghalaya even through public money. We challenge the NPP, which is scared to even debate the TMC on issues of misgovernance and scams in Meghalaya, to come clean and explain this massive disparity in its assets if it has nothing to hide.”
According to him, in a democracy, the people of Meghalaya have the fundamental right and deserve to know the facts.
Gokhale vowed to flag the issue to the Election Commission seeking an urgent probe into the anomalies.