Meghalaya Lokayukta orders full inquiry into BDO fund misappropriation case

Earlier, the Lokayukta had sought a preliminary investigation into the allegations, the report of which showed cases of misappropriation, nepotism and favouritism.
Meghalaya Lokayukta orders full inquiry into BDO fund misappropriation case

TURA

Meghalaya Lokayukta P.K Musahary, on Thursday, ordered for a full inquiry into the case filed by Nappier Marak against the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Baghmara Community & Rural Development (C&RD) Block, Saintfield Ch Sangma, over misappropriation of funds, nepotism and other allegations.

Earlier, the Lokayukta had sought a preliminary investigation into the allegations, the report of which showed cases of misappropriation, nepotism and favouritism.

During a hearing on the case on November 19, a counter-complaint to the inquiry report was placed by the BDO’s lawyer, R. Gurung, where he had sought the quashing of the report and cancellation of a petition against the BDO.

The complainant, Nappier Marak, who is being represented by P.T Sangma, opposed the move over the fact that the preliminary report had already shown corruption, nepotism, bribery and other malpractices.

“He (BDO) is very much responsible and answerable for various allegations in the matter of awarding works and payment of bills to contractors under MGNREGA in the Baghmara C&RD Block,” contended Marak’s lawyer.

Agreeing with Marak’s lawyer, the Lokayukta, in its order, asked for the BDO’s presence in the proceedings of the Court.

“The inquiry report expressed an opinion that a detailed, in-depth inquiry was necessary as the scheme was prevailing in the entire Block. Accordingly, permission has been given for a detailed inquiry,” the order said.

The Lokayukta noted that the initial inquiry revealed that contract work was given to a few selected traders for years, and bills were being cleared similarly.

According to the report, the complainant had transferred money on no less than eight occasions to an account at the behest of the BDO himself.

“Due to paucity of time, the inquiry into the transfer of money between respondent No. 2 and complainant was not verified in detail and hence a detailed and thorough investigation into the allegation of taking bribe against the BDO is needed. Therefore, I am of the view that the allegations of malpractice, nepotism, unequal treatment, etc., are the matter under the purview of the Lokayukta Act 2014. This part of the scam should be dealt with departmentally,” the order added.

The Lokayukta order directed the Chief Secretary of Meghalaya to institute a high-level inquiry into the alleged nepotism, malpractice and mismanagement as it involved over Rs 184 crore from the Central Government.

The order directed the High-Level Committee to verify the work done under MGNERGA by experts/specialists, identify persons responsible and lodged FIRs against such erring officers/officials that were involved in the alleged offence and to start departmental proceedings as per existing law and rules warranted.

The report, as per the order, is to be submitted within 40 days.

(Edited by Gabriel G Momin)

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