View of a coal mining site in Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya. Image credit - YouTube

Leader of opposition and former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma alleged that the MDA government has created a cartel to engage in irregularities and corruption pertaining to coal mining and illegal transportation of coal.

Mukul Sangma also hit out at the MDA government for allegedly delaying a probe that has been ordered by the Meghalaya Lokayukta.

“They have created this cartel and are using the officers as pawns. There is a complaint posted with the NGT pertaining to the manner in which they have found a new way to facilitate illegal mining and transportation,” said Mukul Sangma.

“I am referring to the so-called process of seizing of unclaimed coal. People are seeing how the officers have been misused.”

“The whole modus operandi is that they have claimed that there is unclaimed coal. If there is unclaimed coal or unclaimed property, there is a due process to verify whether there is an owner or not,” Sangma said.

Sangma said they proceed ahead with the public auction of the unclaimed coal, but one of the complaints say that when they tried to verify the so-called unclaimed coal seized by the concerned authorities, it could not be found.

“It is a serious case as there is no coal, but auction takes place. The so-called public auction and notification was given 15 days ahead, but the actual auction date mentioned in the print media was one day ahead of the auction day,” said Mukul Sangma.

“These are standing evidence of irregularities and the actual cartel that this government has created. Officers are constantly told to do what they say, otherwise, they will be removed.”

“A serious, unacceptable and distressful precedence is being created, and I am telling you, there will be chaos, and this cartel will result in coming out of mafia and inter-group fighting. What is happening now is dangerous for the future and I condemn it,” the former CM stated.

He said nobody should think that they can just get away because they cannot get away as there is enough evidence with the people.

He also questioned the MDA government as to why it wanted to scuttle the order of the Meghalaya Lokayukta and the law.

“If you go through the whole Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, the Lokayukta is going precisely as per the law,” he said.

Stating that one of the chief secretaries of Meghalaya was implicated and convicted in the coal scam, Sangma said none of the officers and those involved will go scot-free.

“Therefore, it is time for them (officers) not to act as a pawn in the cartel that has been created.”

“Any attempt to hide and destroy evidence is punishable as per the relevant laws and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and there has also been a number of judgments by the Supreme Court pertaining to this.”

“I would like to warn all those concerns that any attempt to engage in activities amount to facilitating this kind of corrupt practices and any attempt to further hide or destroy evidence of corruption that has taken place, will ultimately draw further response from all concerns,” he warned.

He said the government of the day has been trying to delay the whole process of investigation even after an order by the Lokayukta.

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