Aizawl: Mizoram’s main opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) has urged state governor Hari Babu Kambhampati to disqualify sports minister Robert Romawia Royte for allegedly holding ‘office of profit’ by owning a consultancy firm that worked several contracts under the state government in violation of Representation of People (RP) Act, a party leader said on Wednesday.
The party general secretary (Vigilance department) SL Ngursailova Sailo said that a petition seeking the disqualification of Royte, who also holds Tourism, Information and Communication Technology portfolios, was submitted on Tuesday.
The petition submitted to the governor said that Royte, the sole owner of North East Consultancy Services (NECS), has been running his firm and regularly paid Goods and Service Tax even after he was elected to the state legislature in 2018.
While the NECS with Royte as the proprietor was registered under the GST in 2017, Mr Vanlalfelpuia Royte, who is the biological son of the minister, has also been registered as the proprietor of the firm under GST in May 2019, the petition said.
The consultancy firm, however, did not register under the Company Act 1956 and Mizoram Societies Registration Act, 2005, it said.
The petition said that the firm entered into a subsisting contract with the government by executing the ‘deed of agreement’ with the state District Council and Minority Affairs department in June 2022 for the execution of works under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram(PMJVK) scheme for two years, which contravened section 9A of the RP Act.
The agreement was carried out through ‘single source selection’ violating the Mizoram Transparency in Public Procurement Act, 2008 and the Mizoram Public Procurement Rules, 2020, it said.
Royte has concealed in his affidavit the ongoing projects undertaken by his firm at the time of filing his nomination in 2018. The NECS has been executing various projects since it was approved as an empanelled firm by the state government in September 2022, it said.
“As Vanlalfelpuia is fully dependent on and has not separated from his father with whom he lives under one roof, the administration and function of the NECS are fully controlled and administered by Royte,” the petition said.
It also said that all the monetary benefits and other interests are enjoyed by the minister by virtue of holding the proprietorship of the firm.
“Seeking and receiving monetary benefits by the minister through his firm is not only ‘conflict of interest’, but also misuse of power and a breach of people’s trust,” the petition said.
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The actions taken by Royte were illegal and arbitrary that violated the RP Act and rendered him to be liable to be disqualified as a legislator, it added.
Royte could not be contacted for comment.
With declared assets worth Rs. 44 crore, the Mizo National Front (MNF) legislator from the Aizawl East-II constituency was the second richest among 209 candidates, who contested the last assembly polls in November 2018.
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