AIZAWL, April 29: The chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Serchhip district in Mizoram on Friday deferred Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla’s case on alleged false affidavit by a month as both the defendant and his senior counsel failed to appear before the court. Allowing Lal Thanhawla’s junior lawyer’s prayer for adjournment of the court, the CJM Lalngaihmawia Zote fixed the next hearing on May 25. 

The five-time Chief Minister was summoned by the district court following a criminal complaint filed by deputy controller of mines, Lalhriatrenga Chhangte, on January 27. The criminal complaint accused the Chief Minister of concealing information about his extended property in Kolkata in his affidavit while filing his nomination in the last Mizoram Assembly polls. 

The complainant was present in the court on Friday along with his counsels. Lal Thanhawla’s senior lawyer Remsanga Nghaka also failed to show up for the hearing on Friday ‘citing personal problems’. Lal Thanhawla’s second counsel Laithanpuia requested the CJM to defer the hearing again. The Chief Minister is expected to appear before the court on May 25 with supporting documents. 

Chhangte, in his criminal complaint alleged that the Chief Minister possesses ownership of a piece of land at New Town in the outskirts of Kolkata, where the construction of a multi-storied building is underway and that the Mizo CM failed to declare this asset in the last election. He further accused the Chief Minister of failing to disclose full information about the extent of his property while filing for candidature in Serchhip constituency; adding further that the State Congress president also fabricated false information regarding his age. 

Several variations of his age have been given, such as 57 years in 2003, 68 years in 2008 and 71 years in the 2013 Assembly elections. Chhangte had also filed a criminal complaint with Election Commission of India (ECI) against the Chief Minister in November last year to look into the alleged false affidavit case, as it stands to contradict Section 125-A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951. 

However, when ECI let the complainant know that the tenure for filing the official complaint was over, Chhangte sued Lal Thanhawla in Serchhip District Court for withholding information. This was the second time that the court deferred the case, with the first being on March 28.-Assam Tribune

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