JHADC scam: NGOs seek Guv’s intervention

Public meet urges police to expedite investigation

RTI activist Arlin Dkhar addresses the public meeting at Jowai on Friday. (ST)

JOWAI: NGOs in Jaintia Hills have demanded intervention of the Governor into the alleged misappropriation of public funds in the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) and also urged the police to speed up the investigation and to charge sheet the case registered against JHADC Chief Executive Member MB Rymbai.
The JHADC chief has been in the news for quite some times now over his alleged involvement in misappropriation of JHADC fund meant for payment as discretionary grant and gratuity relief amounting to the tune of Rs 1.18 crore. Police have registered a case under Sections 464, 468, 469, 420, 409 and 500 of the IPC. Rymbai has also been alleged to have been involved in misappropriation of Rs.1.15 crore – the land compensation paid to Lum-pohsiej, a locality in Khliehtryshi village of West Jaintia Hills and following complaints the police have registered a separate case under Sections 464, 506/34 of the IPC.
Prominent NGOs including the Jaintia Students’ Union (JSU) and the Jaintia Youth Federation (JYF) organised a public meeting at Iawmusiang Jowai here on Friday to make the people of the district aware of the corrupt practices prevalent in the JHADC.
The public meeting was attended by hundreds of people from various parts of the district, besides NGO leaders including FKJGP Jaintia Hills general secretary Ricky Shylla, HNYF Thadlaskein Circle president Wanbun Dkhar, HANM vice president, R Pulang, KSU Jaintia Hills president Ohio Suting, RTI activists Arlin Dkhar and  Deimon Phawa, JTA president R Mylliem and JTTA president Iatha Najiar.
Raising their voices against corruption, the speakers expressed their concern over the misappropriation of public money in the JHADC.
JYF president PL Majaw reminded that this was not the first time that elected members in the JHADC had misappropriated public money. Time and again, media reports have highlighted several scams in JHADC including the misappropriation of Rs.4.79 crore in 2006-07, Majaw said.
“If we want development in the district, we should stand together and fight against corruption,” Majaw said.
JSU president Rikut N Parien said that JHADC MDCs, particularly those in power, have been engaged in the practice of corruption which includes misappropriation of public funds and illegal appointments of their near and dear ones.
“I urge the police department to expedite their investigation and charge-sheet the case so that the law can punish the guilty,” he said.
“If the law is equal for everyone police should immediately arrest the JHADC chief,” FKJGP leader Ricky Shylla said, adding, “What more evidence do they (police) need when the RTI report has already revealed that MB Rymbai had misappropriated crores of rupees which is public money.
“The people should not stop fighting against corruption. Fighting against corruption is our right; we should stand together unitedly and fight for our rights,” said CH Passah, a prominent resident of Jowai.
Concerned over the failure of the West Jaintia Hills police to arrest Rymbai, JTTA president Iatha Najiar said, “The law is equal to everyone in India, but what surprised me was the failure of the police to arrest a high-profile person like MB Rymbai, whereas, if a poor man commits a petty crime, they (police) immediately arrest him and put him behind the bars,” he said.
“If NGOs call for a bandh or strike for the sake of the society, they are hunted by police, then why not for the JHADC chief?” he questioned.
The public meeting against corruption in JHADC was chaired by JSU general secretary Emperor Bareh.