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ZPM files plaint with Lokayukta over graft charge against Mizoram speaker

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By PTI Updated: Feb 24, 2022 10:44 am
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Aizawl, Feb. 24 (PTI): Mizoram’s main opposition party (ZPM) has filed a complaint with the state Lokayukta, asking the anti-corruption ombudsman to probe the alleged shareholding and availing of profit from a government contract by Assembly Speaker Lalrinliana Sailo.

Sailo, however, denied the allegation and claimed that he has not received any money illegally.

The development came within hours of ZPM and Congress legislators staging a walkout during the ongoing budget session of the assembly on Wednesday in protest against Sailo presiding over the session amid the graft charge.

The ZPM, in its complaint, alleged that Sailo has pocketed INR 10 crore from a contract for blacktopping a 13-km-long Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) road between Khawzawl and Ngaizawl villages in Khawzawl district.

The matter recently came to light when the contractor Coleen Lalsangpuii and her manager informed NGOs that Sailo had taken INR 10 crore from the contract, it said.

The opposition party also accused the speaker of misusing his power.

“It is illegal for an elected representative of the people to avail profit from a contract. This is a clear manifestation of bringing disgrace on public office and we take strong exception to it,” ZPM said in its complaint.

Earlier on Wednesday, all 11 members of opposition Congress and ZPM staged a walkout during the ongoing budget session in protest against Sailo presiding over the session.

The opposition members demanded an explanation from the speaker and said they would not be present in the session until the speaker proves his innocence.

On Tuesday, ZPM Legislature Party leader Lalduhoma and his Congress counterpart Zodintluanga jointly wrote to Chief Minister Zoramthanga asking him to drop Sailo, and appoint Deputy Speaker Lalrinawma to preside over the proceedings of the ongoing budget session.

As soon as Sailo took the chair to preside the session, Lalduhoma interrupted the speaker and informed him that all members of ZPM and Congress would stage a walkout from the House as he has failed to give an explanation.

Sailo informed the Assembly that he has not illegally obtained money from anyone.

The allegation against Sailo recently came to light when residents of Ngaizawl village ransacked and dismantled the temporary shelters of workers engaged in the road construction on Monday following a failure on the part of a sub-contractor to comply with an ultimatum to leave the construction site within a deadline given by them.

Leaders of the village alleged that a contract worth INR 40.8 crore was awarded to Sailo in the name of Coleen Lalsangpuii under the PMGSY for blacktopping the road from Khawzawl to Ngaizawl.

The work commenced in 2017 and the sub-contractor has so far completed only 4 km of the 13-km-long road.

Sources in Congress said that the opposition legislators will give the budget session a miss as long as Sailo presides over the proceedings.

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By PTI Updated: Feb 24, 2022 10:44:07 am