Aizawl: Former Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) Kali Kumar Tongchangya was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 4 lakh by Special Court (PC Act) in Aizawl on Tuesday.
Tongchangya was convicted by the court on Monday for swindling Rs 1.79 crore of fund meant for road construction under Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) and using the money for the Congress party election campaign in 2013 CADC elections.
While pronouncing the quantum of punishment, Judge HTC Lalrinchhana said that Tongchangya was sentenced under section 409 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) to undergo 4 years imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 2 lakhs, in default, another imprisonment of 1 year.
Lalrinchhana also sentenced the convict under section 13 (2) read with 13 (1) (c) and (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 to undergo 4 years imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 2 lakhs, in default, another imprisonment of 1 year.
“Being having no previous criminal records, and no evidence suggested swindling the corrupted money by the convicted accused in his own pocket, both the sentences except fine shall run concurrently,” the judge ruled.
The convict was remanded to judicial custody and sent to the Central Jail at Tanhril locality after the pronouncement of the sentence.
“Without inflicting deterrent form of punishment, decentralization of governance will automatically replicated decentralization of corruption even at the grass root echelons of administration. Very huge amount of corrupted public money Viz. Rs 1,79,03,773/- soliciting harsh term of punishment,” the Special Judge said.
Vigorous on punishment is expected to herald necessity of continuous austerity in the financial management of state and local governments, he said.
He quoted 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt who said, ““A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” He added, “It simply denotes that on failure to inflict shrewd terms of punishment upon the corrupted budding political executive man, more power in his hands will transmit vicious circling of corruption.”
The total amount misappropriated by Kali Kumar Tongchangya was Rs 1,79,03,773 which included Rs 1.90 crore he took from Digamber Chakma, executive secretary and DDO of CADC.
The prosecution said that Tongchangya, when he was CEM of the CADC took Rs 1.70 crore from the fund meant for construction of road between Longpuighat and Kukurduleya village in south Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district under NLCPR.
The centre sanctioned a total amount of over Rs 11.29 crore for construction of the road during 2003-2013) and disbursed the amount in three installments. The construction of the road could not be completed due to misappropriation of the fund meant for it by the then CEM.
Besides Rs 1.70 crore taken by Tongchangya, who was also President of the Chakma District Congress Committee, Rs. 9.03 lakh was also disbursed from the CADC exchequer in accordance with his verbal instructions to meet various expenses by the Congress party in the run-up of 2013 CADC polls.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials who recovered Rs 1.26 crore from 16 candidates could not recover Rs. 53,03,773 due to different reasons.