AIZAWL, July 24: Mizoram Anti-Corruption Bureau has filed criminal case against 20 people for their alleged involvement in the alleged Mizo Carbon Pvt Ltd scam. The 20 accused, including six government officials, seven company officials and seven traders, were held responsible for misappropriation of public money amounting to Rs 1376.47 lakh. 

Even though the opposition parties, as well as social activist Vanramchhuangi, aka Ruatfela Nu in her PIL in the Gauhati High Court, have implicated Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla and his Cabinet colleague Zodintluanga, their names did not figure in the ACB report. ACB officials said that the investigation report has been submitted to the Gauhati High Court as demanded by the court. The High Court will decide whether or not to refer the case to the CBI after studying the ACB report, they said. The Mizo Carbon Products, at the Industrial Growth Centre at Luangmual locality in Aizawl, had allegedly availed more than Rs 3 crore of Central subsidies through recommendations by the State Government. However, the firm is nothing more than empty buildings, rusting machinery, surrounded by tall grass and a lone caretaker who claimed he had been paid for months. The fact that the firm’s coowner is the sister-in-law of Mizoram Cabinet Minister Zodintluanga has enlarged the controversy. 

Lalngaizuala, a village council member of East Lungdar village, said he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on June 12, 2016, requesting him to initiate a probe into the shady firm, a day before the State’s Council of Ministers decided to positively react to popular demands for an investigation into the firm and its controversial availing of subsidies. His action was motivated by the Young Mizo Association’s findings into the irregularities in the firm. In his letter, Lalngaizuala attached translated reports about the firm in Vanglaini, a vernacular newspaper in Mizoram. He informed the Prime Minister that the issue had even been taken up by the State’s largest non-governmental organisation, the Young Mizo Association. He strongly felt the need for a thorough investigation into the firm. 

Three weeks later, the PMO forwarded the letter to the Mizoram Chief Secretary’s office with a direction to take appropriate action. It was around then that another report appeared in Vanglaini about how the Chief Secretary had directed the ACB to investigate the matter.

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