RTI activists file case with Lokayukta against MDC

GHADC member lodges counter FIR, meets anti-graft panel

TURA/SHILLONG: Two RTI activists moved the Meghalaya Lokayukta in Shillong on Friday against former deputy chief executive member and current GHADC MDC from Silkigre constituency of South Garo Hills, Augustine R Marak, alleging misappropriation of central funds worth close to Rs 3 crore meant for developmental projects.
RTI activists Wilnath T Sangma and Nilberth Ch Marak filed the case before the anti-corruption panel.
However, Marak has filed an FIR against Wilnath and Nilberth alleging that they demanded money from him on several occasions.
In the FIR filed before Sadar police station in Shillong on Friday, Marak alleged that Nilberth also called him on phone and demanded schemes from his constituency and added that the voice records will be submitted to the police. The FIR said they also used threatening words.
Mark said an additional FIR will also be filed against the duo.
According to Marak, the schemes were for the period 2014-16 and also 2017-18.
According to Marak, out of 34 to 36 projects taken up, only one project worth Rs 14 lakh for the construction of village court at Karukol is pending and this was delayed due to the militancy related issue then.
Marak along with his lawyer met the Lokayukta chief in Shillong and apprised him about their stand on the matter.
Earlier, the two activists approached the Lokayukta after they obtained documents from the district council through an RTI and visited the project sites only to find many of these empty with no construction work taken up.
Funds to the tune of Rs 2,62,28,150 were allegedly spent on these schemes though no physical work as undertaken, the complainants alleged.
The alleged misappropriation is said to have taken place with the central funds released by the Centre to the GHADC worth Rs 100.71 crore in 2015-16 as a onetime Special Assistance Scheme.
The scheme allowed the sitting MDCs, including the CEM and chairman, to take up developmental projects in their respective constituencies by utilising the central funds.
In their case filed before the Lokayukta, the two activists presented details of fifty development schemes created by the Silkigre MDC which were allotted to nine contractors.
For majority of the projects 100 per cent funds were released even though no construction work was taken up.
One project where the entire money was allegedly released for work undertaken was a shopping complex at Karukol village worth Rs 95 lakh. There is also a non-existent community hall at Bibragre village worth Rs 9.5 lakh.
A whopping Rs 47.5 lakh was given to one of the contractors for the construction of a CC drain at Alokpang but none has been built.
Out of the fifty schemes put out by the sitting MDC, funds between 60 and 100 per cent have already been released for 33 projects to as many as nine contractors.
However, the MDC clarified that the projects were given to eight contractors.
Besides naming the MDC, the petition filed with the Lokayukta also mentioned about his contractors and two district council officials as collaborators in the alleged scam.
The sectional officer and the superintending engineer of the civil works department of GHADC are accused of clearing implementation of projects so that funds could be released.
However, the MDC denied the allegations and said that there is a political conspiracy behind the move.

Projects pending
Shopping complex in Karukol: Rs 95 lakh
Footbridge at Asakgre: Rs 4.75 lakh
Footpath at Jetragre: Rs 1.9 lakh
Footpath at Daggal Songgital: Rs 1.9 lakh
Community hall at Bibragre: Rs 9.5 lakh
Waiting shed at Dobagre Chokpot: Rs 4.75 lakh
Village Court at Bilgre: Rs 14.25 lakh
Waiting shed at Dombe Wari: Rs 4.51 lakh
Waiting shed at Dobogre Chokpot (B): Rs 3.8 lakh
Dustbin at Kakija bazaar: Rs 47,000
CC drain at Alokpang: Rs 47.5 lakh
Kacha road Balwatgre to Mandang Reding: Rs 50 lakh
Waiting shed at Darengre: Rs 4.94 lakh

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