A special anti-corruption court in Aizawl has given relief to nine government engineers applying for anticipatory bail in a Rs 933 lakhs graft case by allowing them to be released on a bail of Rs 50,000 each in case they are arrested.
Special Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act) Judge Lucy Lalrinthari in her order said the prosecution has not made any objection to a plea by the lawyer for the accused that an earlier interim order in the case be made absolute.
As many as 16 government engineers including Liansanga and C L Thangliana (both former Engineer-in-Chief of the Public Works and Power & Electricity departments respectively) and Vanlalduhsaka and B Lalrinliana (both former Chief Engineers of the PWD and P&E Department) are being investigated for allegedly siphoning off almost Rs 10 crores while building two small hydel projects in southern Mizoram between 1994 and 2001.
An Aizawl-based NGO called PRISM had filed a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Bureau in 2008 about the alleged graft case, but the Vigilance Department first allowed and then retracted it’s permission to file criminal cases.
PRISM went to the Gauhati High Court, which in May this year ordered the ACB to investigate the case within six months.
The Mizoram government however appealed against the HC’s order in the Supreme Court (the ruling Congress claimed suspending the engineers during the investigation would impede development works in the state). The apex court however rejected the appeal.
The ACB thereafter filed a fresh case in court on May 25.
Two days later, eleven engineers (among them two who were not registered as accused in the scam) filed for anticipatory bail. They were subsequently granted interim bail.
Hearing for the anticipatory bail plea came up for hearing in June, but the court adjourned it because the prosecution could not produce certain documents.
When the case was heard again on Monday, the prosecution said it had no objection to the plea by the accused that the interim order be made absolute, upon which the court granted them relief.