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New minister replaces tainted Meghalaya minister

Written by: Staff
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Shillong, May 15 (UNI) Congress MLA Jenith M Sangma was today inducted into the D D Lapang ministry in place of Community and Rural Development Minister Beckstar K Sangma, who resigned yesterday following a raging controversy over embezzlement of funds.

Mr Sangma, who represents the Rangsakona Assembly in Garo Hills, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor M M Jacob at a brief ceremony here.

He was inducted into the ministry in the Cabinet rank, but no portfolio was immediately allotted to him.

Mr Sangma, one of the youngest MLAs in the state, is the younger brother of former Deputy Chief Minister and present Congress MLA Mukul Sangma.

In an earlier development, Beckstar Sangma had to resign last evening following pressure from party colleagues over the issue of misappropriation of funds.

Mr Sangma, who was inducted into the Cabinet on December 8 last year, allegedly siphoned off about Rs.50 lakh meant for housing development projects in Garo Hills.

The embezzlement of funds was unearthed when Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP and former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma, as chairman of Central Vigilance and Monitoring Committee, had a review of the development schemes in the area.

He had submitted the details of his findings to the state government through a memorandum.

However, Chief Minister Lapang asserted that no charges against Mr Beckstar Sangma were proved and he tendered his resignation for smooth conduct of the inquiry.

''No charges have been proved against him and there was no pressure on him. He resigned so that the inquiry can be conducted smoothly,'' said Mr Lapang today after the swearing-in ceremony of Mr Jenith M Sangma.

''The government has already ordered a ministerial inquiry into the charges of misappropriation of funds. We will wait for the report,'' said the newly inducted minister.

''Improving the deteriorating power situation in the state and environmental issues will come high in my priority as a minister.

Besides, I will also focus on infrastructure development,'' he said.

UNI SG PC DB1513

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