- Ezrela Dalidia Fanai, NET Correspondent, Mizoram
The lone Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator in the Mizoram Legislative Assembly – Dr. B.D. Chakma today noted that since the inception of Mizoram’s three Autonomous District Councils (ADCs), funds in the form of grant-in-aid from the state administration have been released every four months in instalment basis, which causes irregularities in the disbursement of salaries to ADC employees.
Addressing a press conference at the Atal Bhavan, Dr Chakma argued that the elected members of district councils are worst-affected by the system, as their salaries hardly cover requisite needs, leading to constant public pressure to meet their petty demands like – feeding guests, medical treatment, educational expenses, marriages, rites and rituals etc.
Dr. BD Chakma affirmed that this kind of routine public pressure leave them with no options but to take salary advances from the Executive Secretary; with proper signatures against such pay advances that are always refunded from subsequent salaries. He also highlighted that this process is done in good faith and mutual understanding between the Executive Committee and the Executive Secretary.
He mentioned that when he was the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC), the-then Executive Secretary – Digambor Chakma often highlighted that if any financial challenges are faced to meet demands of the people of their constituent assemblies, salaries can be given in advance and that it was not illegal-citing Judgement Order Para 52 (5).
Dr Chakma remarked that this clearly shows how Digambor and his colleagues did not commit any illegality nor coerce the Executive Secretary or misuse any political influence.
He alleged that the Executive Secretaries of the ADCs stated that forceful intimidation by the case Investigating Officer during their interrogation to implicate him and his colleagues; and questioned that if political influence and coercion was applied as the Executive Secretaries had mentioned, why were they not approached by the state secretaries.
Dr. BD Chakma also stated that the Executive Secretaries had not kept proper records of the advancements and reimbursements of salaries and instead of making them prime accused, the case Investigating Officer had turned them into prosecution witnesses.
Its worthy to note that the Hon’ble Judge of Special Court, Prevention of Corruption Act today convicted 13 persons viz. Dr. BD Chakma, the lone BJP MLA from Tuichawng constituency; current Chief Executive Member Buddha Lila Chakma, 4 MDCs and 7 ex-MDCs; and sentenced all accused to undergo an imprisonment of one year and a fine of Rs.10000 on ground of mismanagement of funds of the Chakma Autonomous District Council.
However, all the accused have been bailed-out after signing a bail bond of Rs. 20,000 each.