At least seven among 16 engineers currently or formerly with the Mizoram government have been granted interim bail by a special anti-corruption court days after the Anti-Corruption Bureau filed criminal cases against them for allegedly swindling Rs 933 lakhs while building two mini hydel projects almost two decades ago.
Senior lawyers said bail applications for at least two others are currently being processed.
The ACB had earlier this week filed criminal charges against the 16 engineers at the Aizawl district court on the directions of the Gauhati High Court, which ordered a probe into the alleged scam within six months.
The Mizoram government had unsuccessfully tried to block the probe in the Supreme Court (the ruling Congress claims the suspension of these engineers through criminal investigations would adversely affect development works, but the opposition has alleged it was because the case might re-open a scam that involves Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who was acquitted by a lower court).
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Some of the accused engineers have applied for anticipatory bail but have been granted interim bail. Hearings for some of their applications have been scheduled for June 3, others on June 12.
They have been prohibited from leaving Mizoram without the court’s permission or trying to influence witnesses and to cooperate with investigators.
The same court has also granted interim bail to six people accused of swindling more than Rs 300 lakhs from education funds meant for schools in the tribal Lai Autonomous District Council. The accused include V Zirsangha, the council’s Chief Executive Member. Further hearing has been fixed for June 4.
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