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Correspondent SHILLONG, JUL 24:
Truckers’ body summoned
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Published on 24 Jul. 2010 11:32 PM IST
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District magistrate in Meghalaya has summoned the president of a truckers’ body for charging Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma of abetting extortion along the national highway in the state.
The All North East Commercial Truck Owners and Operators Association (ANECTOA) had accused Sangma of abetting extortion along national highway 62 in Garo Hills through 29 illegal toll and check gates.
“I have summoned Augustine Shanpru, the President of ANECTOA to validate and substantiate the allegations against Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and certifying the presence of 29 toll gates and rampant illegal extortion along the highway,” East Garo Hills District, Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi said. The ANECTOA President will have to appear before the Deputy Commissioner on August 2.
The judicial summon is significant in the wake of the opposition parties in the parliament has assured the truckers that they would raise the issue in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament.
Meanwhile, the opposition NCP has demanded for a CBI probe into the incident and not the State government to investigate on it.
“Since Dr. Mukul Sangma is himself an accused in this controversy, it is morally wrong on the part of the State Government to conduct the enquiry themselves,” NCP Spokesman and legislator, James K Sangma said.
If the intention of the State Government is to harass and intimidate the President of the ANECTOOA, he said then this will tantamount to infringement of a citizen’s fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.
The Chief Minister, however, rubbished the allegations and said that the state can recommended for a CBI inquiry only if the state government fails to handle the matter.
ANECTOA has charged that Sangma allegedly requested them to “come to an understanding” with the operators of the illegal toll and check gates instead of demanding their removal.
The association claims there are more than 29 such illegal gates on highway 62 manned by armed people extorting over Rs. 6, 000 per truck.
National Highway 62 connects Meghalaya’s East and South Garo Hills districts and also West Khasi Hills district.
ANECTOA has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to direct the Meghalaya government to dismantle all illegal toll and check gates and initiate a CBI probe into the extortion.

 
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