Shillong, July 12: The Congress said that the time is ripe to remove the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma over the alleged corruption in the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL).
“I appeal to all the likeminded 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,” the Congress spokesperson Zenith Sangma said.
“We will also place this issue before the court of the people (Janta ki Adalat) for their verdict as after all, the people are the owners of everything,” the Rangsakona MLA said.
Zenith said the recent news report about the CAG mentioning about anomalies in the implementation of Saubhagya scheme resulting in the loss of more than Rs 149 crore is an eye opener for everyone.
“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.
‘Panel member close to Satnam’
Zenith said the independent inquiry committee constituted by the government is only an eye wash and added 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,” he said.
Commenting on the refusal by CM to relieve the power minister James Sangma, the Congress legislator 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?”
According to Zenith, from the day one, James, being the minister-in-charge and having the supreme executive power in the power department, interfered and dictated.
“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, the officer was transferred within short period and brought in someone as they can get things done, he said.
No full strength
According to Zenith, the Board of Directors is not having full strength as till now there is no representative from planning and finance departments.
The former CMD is still Director Finance who is also still one of the directors in the board, he said.
Zenith also recalled that a 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,” Zenith said.
He 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 fulfill 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 added.