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Friday, May 24, 2024

Allegations of bribery against PHE engineer lead to legal action

The contractor, Tarseng Ch Sangma from Rongkhon Songgital locality in Tura, alleged that the Sub-Divisional PHE Officer, Kedia G Momin of Tura, demanded an initial bribe of Rs 1 lakh to clear his bill of Rs 74,64,200 for a construction project related to the Akemgre water supply scheme under the Pre-Sedimentation Tank.

Our Correspondent

TURA:

A PHE (Public Health Engineering) engineer stationed in Bajengdoba, North Garo Hills, has been entangled in a legal battle after a contractor filed both a court case and a police complaint, accusing her of accepting a bribe and failing to release his dues.

The contractor, Tarseng Ch Sangma from Rongkhon Songgital locality in Tura, alleged that the Sub-Divisional PHE Officer, Kedia G Momin of Tura, demanded an initial bribe of Rs 1 lakh to clear his bill of Rs 74,64,200 for a construction project related to the Akemgre water supply scheme under the Pre-Sedimentation Tank.

The project was awarded to the contractor following a formal work order issued by the executive engineer (PHE) cum member secretary, DWSM Jal Jeevan Mission North Garo Hills, on March 10, 2022. A third-party inspection on May 5, 2023, validated the project’s completion and issued a certification.

Upon approaching the Sub-Divisional Officer for the bill’s release, the contractor stated that he was asked for an amount exceeding Rs 1 lakh to facilitate bill preparation. Due to financial constraints, he negotiated and paid Rs 30,000 through Google Pay on August 10, 2023. However, the bill release has been delayed without justification, with the engineer allegedly citing various reasons and claiming to be away on business.

The contractor questioned the demand for money by a government officer for services they are expected to provide, accusing the engineer of misusing her position and engaging in malicious practices.

In response, the aggrieved contractor filed a case in the Meghalaya High Court on September 12, 2023, through his lawyers G. Ch Marak and P T Sangma. The court has granted the government advocate and team two weeks to file an affidavit in response to the allegations. The case underscores the need for transparency and integrity within the government system, urging swift action against any malpractice.

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