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Shillong jail graft probe begins

Shillong, Oct. 13: An inquiry into alleged irregularities in the Shillong district jail began here today. Some jail employees had to depose before East Khasi Hills additional district magistrate D.M. Wahlang.

Following allegations of various irregularities, the Meghalaya government had instituted the inquiry on October 4.

The terms of reference of the inquiry are to inquire into complaints of alleged financial irregularities in the district jail, assess the extent of such irregularities and fix responsibility, if any, for the same, identify the reasons and causes leading to the protest by a section of jail staff on September 29 and persons responsible for the protest.

Wahlang will also examine whether any role was played by outsiders, an alleged nexus between some jail staff and high-security prisoners and suggest suitable measures to prevent such nexus in the future. Sources said several jail employees deposed before the additional district magistrate at the district jail today in relation to alleged financial irregularities.

They included jail superintendent R.K.M. Sangma, jailers James Marbaniang and Felicita Wahlang, and assistant jailer T.D. Marak.

Another two employees who were transferred from the district jail will depose on Monday morning.

Director-general (prisons) Kulbir Krishan had alleged that financial irregularities to the tune of lakhs of rupees had taken place in the district jail. According to Krishan, the audit team from the office of the accountant general (AG) also wanted to conduct a second audit in view of the irregularities in the cashbook and stock register of the district jail.

Pertaining to financial irregularities, Wahlang has been assisted by an official from the examiner of local accounts, Shillong.

Moreover, the director-general had submitted a report to the government last month pointing out several irregularities, including the alleged bribery by Sujit Dey, the legal counsel of jailed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) chairman Champion R. Sangma. Dey was alleged to have paid a large amount of money to jailer Felicita Wahlang.

It was further alleged that the amount was used not only to provide extra facilities to the undertrial prisoner but also to influence other prisoners in the jail.

Sources said Dey had been asked to depose before the additional district magistrate on October 18. Krishan will also have to depose at a later date.

While the state government has asked Wahlang to submit his report within a week, sources said the inquiry would require more time before the report can be sent.


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