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VPP MLA files complaint against ex-officials over Saubhagya scheme corruption in Meghalaya

VPP MLA files complaint against ex-officials over Saubhagya scheme corruption in Meghalaya

Adelbert Nongrum, a legislator from the Voice of the People Party, has filed a complaint against ten former officials for alleged corruption in the implementation of the Saubhagya scheme. The complaint is based on a CAG report that highlights misappropriation of funds and undue financial benefits to contractors.

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VPP MLA files complaint against ex-officials over Saubhagya scheme corruption in Meghalaya VPP MLA files complaint against ex-officials over Saubhagya scheme corruption in Meghalaya

Adelbert Nongrum, a legislator from the Voice of the People Party (VPP), on June 12, filed a complaint before the Meghalaya Lokayukta against ten former officials of the state government and the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) for alleged corruption in the implementation of the Saubhagya scheme.

The complaint, based on the Comptroller and Auditor General of India's (CAG) report on Social and Economic Sectors for the year ended March 31, 2022, accuses the former officials of misappropriating public funds and allowing undue financial benefits to contractors.

Among those named in the complaint are the former chief secretary, former additional chief secretary (Power), chairman cum managing director (CMD) of MeECL, and former officials of the MePDCL, including the Director (Distribution), Chief Engineer (Distribution), Chief Engineer (Rural Electrification), Company Secretary, Chief Accounts Officer/Deputy Chief Accounts Officer, Additional Chief Engineer (Material Management), and Additional Chief Engineer (Planning & Design).

According to Nongrum, the CAG report revealed that the deletion of significant clauses from the bid document for works under the SAUBHAGYA household electrification programme by the Empowered Committee (Tender) of MePDCL was irregular and contrary to the directions given by the Rural Electrification Corporation. This action provided undue financial benefits to Turnkey Contractors, resulting in an avoidable expenditure of Rs 156.14 crore.

The complaint further alleges that despite an advisory from the Cabinet Secretary of the Government of India, suggesting the cancellation of the tender and taking up the works departmentally due to the contractors' quoted rates being above the estimated cost, MePDCL went ahead and awarded the works to the Turnkey Contractors in February-March 2019.

Nongrum stated that the audit findings indicated an item-wise rate comparison of common items being executed departmentally by MePDCL and through Turnkey Contractors, revealing that the rates quoted by the contractors were much higher than the departmental rates, leading to the avoidable expenditure.

The legislator has filed the complaint under Section 13(1)(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, alleging that the public servants named in the complaint dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriated property placed under their control or allowed others to do so. 

Edited By: Aparmita
Published On: Jun 13, 2024