BJP reminds govt of 3-month probe limit

SHILLONG, Sep 21: The BJP has asked the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government to complete the probe into alleged irregularities in the implementation of Saubhagya scheme within the stipulated three months and place the findings in public domain.
“After I had raised some questions on the Saubhagya scheme at the last MDA meeting, the CM had clarified that the government will constitute an inquiry committee. I had then clearly asked them to complete the probe within three months and place the findings in public domain,” state BJP chief and advisor to the CM, Ernest Mawrie said on Tuesday.
Asserting that the BJP will continue to raise issues in MDA coordination committee meetings, Mawrie said the party has kept raising the issue of corruption in Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL), Autonomous District Councils besides the illegal transportation of coal.
“We were the first to raise the issue of corruption and I want to make it very clear that the Congress and other political parties took a cue from us,” he said.
Dismissing the allegation that he is enjoying perks vis-à-vis his appointment as advisor to the CM for maintaining silence, Mawrie said, “This is a wrong perception. All other political parties got their political appointments unlike us. I never asked the CM for the post.”
Two months after the alleged scam came to light, the government had ordered the probe. However, there are now indications that the inquiry is neither independent nor focused on the scam.
An independent investigation conducted by The Shillong Times suggests that right from the composition of the inquiry committee to the post-haste closure of the Saubhagya project, the needle of suspicion points to the higher-ups in the Power department and collusion of pliable  MeECL officials aside from the Minister-contractor nexus.
From all indications, the committee headed by a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court is eyewash. The chairman and the members of the committee were allegedly handpicked by a senior Cabinet Minister and his close associate – the contractor named in the scam, who is suspected to have duped Meghalaya to the tune of Rs 200 crore. The Saubhagya scheme, which ran to approximately Rs 500 crore, could have been completed within Rs 200 crore, according to established contractors.
The committee, it is alleged, is just a sham to absolve both the Minister and the contractor of any act of omission or commission in the implementation of the scheme.

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