TMC’s Mukul Sangma Writes to PM Seeking Probe into Meghalaya Smart Meters ‘Scam’

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Meghalaya’s leader of opposition Mukul Sangma sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an inquiry by a central agency into the purchase of “overpriced” smart meters by the state government. Sangma, a Trinamool Congress leader, alleged massive financial irregularities in the contracts for procurement of smart meters awarded by the Meghalaya government.

“Sir, you have always held that there is zero tolerance for corruption in New India. Your commitment to ensuring a corruption-free India gives me great expectations and hope that the Government of India will order an immediate inquiry into this matter through an appropriate Central investigation agency,” he wrote in a letter to the prime minister on Thursday. “This is an issue that has major repercussions on the people of Meghalaya and the state’s exchequer, and therefore, your kind and urgent intervention is greatly desired in order for justice to be done,” he added.

The state government had invited bids for the supply of 1,80,000 smart meters. The contracts were given to two bidders — Satnam Global Infraprojects Ltd, and a joint venture of JPM Industries and Inhemeter Co Ltd, said Sangma, the former chief minister of the state. One smart meter has been procured by the government at Rs 11,242, including GST, he said.

Satnam Global Infraprojects Ltd installed Liberty 150 smart meters, while the other firm installed Inhemeter DDZ1513 devices. The open market retail price of a single Liberty 150 smart meter is Rs 5,500, while the online retail price of a single Inhemeter DDZ1513 smart meter is Rs 1,700, Sangma claimed.

“There is a massive price discrepancy of Rs 137.55 crore between the price paid by the Government of Meghalaya for these smart meters and their price on the open market,” he said. Stating that Inhemeter Co Ltd is a Chinese company, Sangma said giving the contract to a Chinese firm does not align with the core idea of Make in India.

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said the allegation was political in nature. An inquiry had been ordered to probe the alleged irregularities, he said.

Retired Judge RN Mishra had in March submitted his one-man inquiry committee report into the alleged scam, an official said. Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s NPP runs the Meghalaya government in alliance with the BJP.

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