Former Meghalaya Assembly Speaker and senior Congress legislator, Martin M Danggo Tuesday said he welcomes any sort of inquiry to probe into corruption charges against him.
The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report, in two successive reports in as many years, has pointed to fund misappropriation during Danggo’s tenure as speaker. The alleged misappropriation runs into crores of rupees of public money. Among the goods missing was a poultry coop, for the construction of which Danggo had submitted a bill for Rs.11.81 lakh.
“It is up to the authority of the assembly to decide on what sort of inquiry, but I welcome any sort of inquiry to probe into the CAG findings, even a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe,” Danggo told journalists here.
Denying having any role in the alleged financial mismanagement as revealed, Danggo, who held the office of Speaker during 2003-08, said “I am not blaming anyone but it is regretted that my name had been unnecessarily and prominently featured and linked to the bungling, misappropriation and misuse of financial powers during my tenure as Speaker of the Assembly.”
The former Speaker also said that he had written to the Public Account’s Committee demanding for a thorough probe and investigation into the construction of an Rs 11.81 poultry coop as he was unaware of such constructions in his official residence during his tenure as a Speaker.
In its report, the CAG said, ‘Approval of such construction (poultry coop) at the official residence (of the speaker) from public money was not only unethical but also unauthorised’.
In connection with goods worth crores of rupees which were found missing from his official residence, Danggo said that all furniture and other items supplied to him have been returned to the Assembly secretariat for which the receipt of the furniture and other items returned were received and inventory list duty signed by the Deputy Speaker and the care taker respectively..
“I cannot be held responsible (missing articles).If the Speaker has also to perform the duty of a stock keeper, then the very office of the Speaker is be-little,” Danggo asserted.
Earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had demanded the resignation of Danggo and a CBI probe into corruption charges against him.
This is not the first instance of the CAG unearthing financial mismanagement during Danggo’s tenure as the speaker. Danggo allegedly did not hand over goods installed in his official residence before vacating it in May 2008.
Included in the list of items were two 50-inch Sony LCD TVs worth Rs.787,500, one PIV Lenovo worth Rs.140,712, one air-conditioner worth Rs.192,440, three wall fans worth Rs.23,400.
A cycling machine, treadmill, weight machine, TFT monitor and revolving chair were also purchased by the then speaker. Moreover, two dining tables worth Rs.103,500, a 2857.14 sq m carpet worth Rs.23 lakh were purchased, according to the CAG report.
After last year’s CAG report, the assembly referred the alleged corruption charges to the PAC as mandated by the constitution, but so far no action has been taken by the committee.