Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla on Wednesday read out before the state assembly the names, designation and charges against 25 gazetted officers in Mizoram — including an Additional Inspector General of Police, a Director and Deputy Director of major departments and senior government engineers including a Chief Engineer — who are currently being investigated by the vigilance department on various corruption charges.
The Congress veteran, who since returning to power in 2008 after a decade has repeatedly said that his government is dedicated to fighting corruption, was replying to a question by Mizo National Front MLA Lalrinawma, who asked how many gazetted officers currently have vigilance cases pending against them.
Lal Thanhawla replied 25 gazetted officers face such cases, and proceeded to read out the list.
Among those on it are suspended PWD Chief Engineer (Highways) Vanlalduhsaka, who is charged with awarding 13.75 percent extra to contractors SLT Infracon and who was also investigated for lapses that allegedly led to a massive landslide in Aizawl that killed 17 people last year.
Three of Vanlalduhsaka’s PWD colleagues are also being investigated by the vigilance department — among them Assistant Engineer Lalramzauva for allegedly taking money from contractors in connection with the building of a polytechnic at eastern Champhai town, and Executive Engineer R Zatawna for allegedly mis-appropriating Rs 6.75 lakhs of government money.
Another senior officer under investigation is AIG-III Thomas Zodingliana, a Mizoram Police Service (MPS) service cadre, for “deployment of police personnel for his private works.”
Former Agriculture Director H Lalthanpuia is also under investigation for drawing “fraudulent bills amounting to Rs 14.34 lakhs”, while Deputy Director of Horticulture H Lalchhuanvawra and another officer of the same department, Lalrinawmi Renthlei, are being probed for mis-appropriating funds meant for grape cultivation at Hnahlan, the main hub of Mizoram’s indigenous wine industry.
Other officials under investigation include a headmaster of a government-owned Higher Secondary School, a Medical Officer, a handful of Block Development Officers, and a host of other officials with various other departments.
After Lal Thanhawla read out the names Lalrinawma, the opposition MLA who asked the question, commented, “Thank you. I got a reply much more detailed than I expected.”
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