Congress ''unearths'' fund scam to nail Mizoram CM

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Aizawl, Oct 7 (UNI) The Pradesh Congress' Vigilante Committee today claimed to have revealed the ''truths'' behind the alleged large-scale misappropriation of funds under Kau-Tlabung and Tuipanglui mini hydel projects.

Former Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, also a Congress Leader, had been charged with the fund scam and the case was still in the court.

The new twist in the case wwould ironically nail the present Chief Minister Zoramthanga as it gave clean chit to his Congress counterpart, Congress said.

Claiming to reveal truths on the alleged fund scam after two years of investigation, Pradesh Congress' Vigilante Committee Chairman and MLA Lalrinliana said, ''We have gathered documents enough to send the chief minister to jail.'' In a press conference today, the committee distributed documents which it claimed to have obtained under the RTI Act, and video documentary showing what the hydel projects were ''in reality''.

''It has been revealed that long after the two mini hydel projects were completed, revised estimates were made in the year 2001 without any additional works. This clearly indicated that Zoramthanga, who also holds the power and electricity portfolio, pocketed crores of rupees taking advantage of the charges against Lal Thanhawla'', Lalrinliana said.

It may be recollected that in 1996, Rev Dr Zairema filed PIL with the Supreme Court against then chief minister Lal Thanhawla over the alleged misappropriation of funds in the two mini hydel projects.

As it appeared that Lal Thanhawla could not be impeached, Chief Minister Zoramthanga during a budget session in 2002 dropped a five-page ''Brief Note on Kau-Tlabung and Tuipanglui Small Hydel Projects'' in the Assembly House.

It was based on this brief note that Reverend Dr Zairema filed a fresh FIR to the Aizawl police station, Lalrinliana said.

Interestingly, no copy of the said brief note could be furnished to an RTI applicant because Mr Zoramthanga never made such a written statement in the House.

This was stated in the SPIO and Assembly Joint Secretary Vanlalnghenga's his reply to the applicant copies of which were distributed to the press.

The estimated cost for Kau-Tlabung hydel project was revised for two times in 1997 and 2001 to Rs 2,519 lakhs and Rs 3,253 lakhs respectively against the original estimate (in 1994) of Rs 482 lakhs, according to the documents. On the contrary the project was stated as completed in 1997.

The estimate for Tuipanglui mini hydel project was also revised in 2001 to Rs 3,721 lakhs against the original estimated cost of Rs 980.00 lakhs (in 1992) even as the project had already been stated as completed by the year 2000.

Lalrinliana said they would see to it that the persons responsible behind were brought to justice.

''We will go even to the Supreme Court if need be,'' Lalrinliana informed.

UNI ZS SB SLD AS2315

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