With the MDA government adamant on not revoking the termination of the service of three Lokayukta officials, the VPP said it would resume its protest at the State Secretariat on January 22 (Monday) till the government reinstates the sacked officials.
“Our protest will continue till the State government accepts our demand,” VPP spokesperson Batskhem Myrboh said today.
VPP general secretary Ricky Syngkon said the party’s agitation which began today was just the beginning.
Meanwhile, Myrboh maintained that the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act never mentioned that the appointees should be in-service or retired.
Stating that the act only stated that the appointees should not be below that rank which applies even to the retired officials, Myrboh said, “I also want the media to ask the government what it meant by ‘temporary measure’ and where in the act it was mentioned that only those in service are eligible to be enquiry officers of Lokayukta.”
He said the VPP had read the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act thoroughly before hitting the street.
He also said that the government was trying to forcefully meddle in the working of the State Lokayukta which has undermined the functioning of the Lokayukta as a whole.
“If this style of functioning continues the time will come that nothing will be functional if officials can be removed in this manner,” Myrboh added.
He asked, “Who appointed the retired officials if it is not this government, and the same has been the case in the past where retired officials have been appointed. I want the media to also ask the government to justify its stance because in our understanding the removal of the officers is illegal and without any grounds.”
Stating that everyone knows why the three Lokayukta officers have been removed, Myrboh said that if this style of functioning is allowed then it will be like giving the government a free pass to do as it likes.
Recently, the State government removed Lokayukta’s Director of Inquiry and Prosecution, Jainal Rymmai and two enquiry officers – Anil K. Sangma and Rymphang Pde. The officials were unceremoniously sacked via WhatsApp messages.
It was this trio who had unearthed an alleged scam worth crores of rupees that purportedly involved NPP MLA, Sanjay Sangma, who is also the brother-in-law of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.
Following their investigation, the court of the Lokayukta had charge-sheeted Sanjay Sangma, nine former GHADC executive committee members, two contractors, and a former Principal Secretary of the GHADC.
The investigation followed a complaint by activist Kingstone B Sangma.
The alleged scam in question relates to the construction of a hostel for MDCs of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) in Tura. The project is worth more than Rs 6 crore. The MDC hostel was funded by the central government.
Later, on the recommendation of the State government, the Lokayukta chairperson Bhalang Dhar has appointed Israel W. Ingty as the new Director of the Inquiry Wing and three other members – Challang G. Momin, John Clitzer Sangma and Baniateilang Diengngan.