Four yrs on, Govt still examining probe report

GHADC scam: James accuses CM of shielding the corrupt

SHILLONG: The probe report on an alleged GHADC scam is yet to see the light of the day after four years even as the State government is planning to institute a judicial inquiry commission into the North Garo Hills firing incident.
The judicial inquiry report on the 2009-10 GHADC scam relates to financial irregularities and misappropriation of funds committed by the Council.
It was on December 29, 2012, that the report of the inquiry commission headed by Justice (retd) P.G Agarwal was submitted to the State government.
The Commission of Inquiry had cost the State exchequer over Rs 22 lakh.
Ever since the report was submitted, the Opposition, especially NPP, has been raising the issue in the Assembly asking the government to table the report, but in vain.
The reply of the government in the past was that the matter was being examined by the Finance and other related departments.
The government had also said in 2014 that the report was placed before the Cabinet on November 18, 2014, and that the Cabinet had directed the District Council Affairs Department to consult the Law and the Finance departments on measures to be suggested to the District Councils to bring about financial reforms and discipline, and budget management, and to place the same again before the Cabinet.
The written reply to the question asked by NPP legislator James Sangma last week related to the inquiry report was that the matter was still under examination of the government.
The NPP legislator on Sunday wondered as to how it is taking four years for the government to examine the report.
“The Assembly was told that the government was still examining the report and in this regard, I can only say that the government is shielding the guilty,” James said.
James also questioned the government’s double standards in maintaining transparency and accountability.
“The very fact that the government is not tabling the report indicates that it does not care about weeding out corruption,” he said.
According to the NPP legislator, the chief minister was lying when he said in the Assembly that there was a need to have a collective effort to check corruption, while replying to a resolution on the same subject.
“It appears that the chief minister wants to protect those indicted in the report as what he spoke in the Assembly is contrary to transparency and accountability,” James said.
It was during the tenure of then GHADC CEM P.K Sangma, who was with NCP, that the alleged financial irregularities took place in the Council in 2009-10.
Later, Sangma joined the Congress and unsuccessfully contested both the 2013 Assembly polls and the GHADC polls held on October 12, 2015.
The scam in GHADC surfaced after the then Deputy Commissioner of West Garo Hills, Sanjay Goyal, conducted an audit report and found out financial irregularities including illegal appointments in the Council in 2009-10.
Later on October 19, 2010, the State government notified the inquiry commission headed by Agarwal.
The terms of reference for the commission set by the government included the need to probe the facts and circumstances leading to the financial instability in GHADC and also to examine financial irregularities and misappropriation of funds committed by GHADC.
Examination of the administration of laws, rules and regulation made by GHADC with special reference to the alleged cancellation of appointment in respect of Laskars and village court staff without reasons and illegal appointment made in various departments of GHADC was also part of the terms of reference.
Another task of the commission was to find out the ways and means of revamping the GHADC administration. Though the time frame to complete the probe report was three months, the commission completed the report only after two years.
It was to expose the NCP-led Executive Committee led by P.K Sangma that the Congress-led MUA government  instituted the judicial inquiry commission, but sources from the Opposition had claimed that the government has been delaying the process of making the report public as those allegedly involved are now in the Congress.
The formation of the inquiry commission was also following the toppling games in GHADC after many NCP MDCs had switched their allegiance to the Congress.
Since April 2010, the government had imposed the administrator’s rule for six months each on two occasions in GHADC following a tussle for power amid claims and counter claims both by the Congress and NCP, besides filing court cases.
There were allegations by NCP that the government formed the commission to prevent the party to form the Executive Committee in the GHADC in 2010.