SHILLONG, May 08: All is not well for People’s Democratic Front (PDF) president PN Syiem as rebellion is building against him for his alleged “dictatorial attitude”. Syiem, who also head the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), as its CEM, is also accused of fund misappropriation to the tune of Rs 28 crores.
PDF MDC from Nongskhen Grace Mary Kharpuri on Tuesday demanded investigation by the CBI into the alleged misappropriation by Syiem. She has also accused the KHADC chief of allegedly threatening her if she fails to resign as an Executive Member (EM) for raising question on the matter.
This comes a day after KHADC chief decided to drop Kharpuri from the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) led Executive Committee. Kharpuri, who is also the PDF’s state women’s wing president, was holding the post of EM in-charge Forest.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference held here on Tuesday, Kharpuri said, “I strongly demand for a CBI inquiry into the misappropriation of Syiem with regards to Rs 28 crore out of Rs 33 crore which was sanctioned by Centre to the Council.”
The MDC alleged that Syiem had taken the decision to use the fund only on Council’s assets without the knowledge of the other executive members while taking advantage that all of them were busy with the February 27 Assembly elections held earlier this year.
She said that the matter came to light only after the members from other political parties including the UDP, HSPDP and Congress raised the issue and had also gone to confront the CEM for the alleged misuse of the fund.
Kharpuri opined, “It also clearly shows that the CEM had done this by abusing his powers for his own personal benefit as none of the MDCs were aware and there was no tender called for implementing the fund.”
She went on to allege that “to allot up to Rs 7 crore works to a single contractor, you can imagine the percentage (commission) he (Syiem) is getting,” while reiterating that she would take steps to ensure that the CBI comes in and investigate into this misuse of public fund by the CEM.
The MDC also said that she would take a call on whether to file a complaint to the State Level Committee headed by the chief secretary on the failure of the CEM to convene the meeting of the district level committee before submitting schemes for its approval.
“The fund should have been instead been utilized for the development of the 29 constituencies which is also as per the guidelines. On the other hand, I fail to understand how investing the money on Council’s assets would generate revenue for the Council,” she said.
Kharpuri further informed that as an EM in-charge of Forest, she had time and again urged the CEM to consider taking up rubber plantation in the Arodonga plantation which will generate a lot of revenue for the Council but to no avail.
Meanwhile accusing Syiem of threatening her, the Nongskhen MDC, while displaying a text message sent to her by the CEM, said, “He has threatened me by saying ‘Just tell me you will resign or shall I drop (you)’. I feel this is not the way and I demand that he should tender an apology. How can I work with somebody who has threatened me?”
She is the second MDC from PDF party to have been dropped from the EC by Syiem in a span of one week.
Kharpuri and Mawhati MDC James Sylliang, who was also dropped as EM earlier, were among the four PDF MDCs who have signed a letter submitted to the PDF president last month requesting to convene a meeting to discuss on the change of leadership in KHADC.
Sylliang had also recently launched a signature campaign for garnering the support of other MDCs to demand for a special session to seek clarification from the KHADC chief on the decision to divert the Rs 28 crore on Council’s asset.
Kharpuri, who is also the president of the Nongskhen Zonal Committee of the PDF, also announced that she would be supporting the signature campaign to ensure that a special session is convened at the earliest.
Earlier, Syiem had justified that dropping of PDF MDCs was to accommodate members from the HSPDP and UDP, who have recently extended their full support to the PDF led PDA executive committee.
However, Kharpuri said the decision to drop the PDF MDCs was also taken by the KHADC chief without any consultation.