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Aizawl: The Governor of Mizoram has sought the opinion of the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a petition seeking the disqualification of minister Robert Romawia Royte for allegedly holding “office of profit,” an official said on Sunday.

The official said the governor had last week written to the ECI urging the poll panel to examine the petition filed by the opposition party, the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), seeking the disqualification of Royte for allegedly violating the Representation of People (RP) Act for holding an office of profit.

The Raj Bhavan also sought the ECI opinion on the matter for further consideration of the governor, he said.

On February 28, the ZPM filed a petition urging the governor to disqualify Royte for allegedly holding an ‘office of profit’ by owning a consultancy firm that worked on several contracts under the state government in violation of the RP Act.

Royte is a minister of state and holds different portfolios, including sports and tourism, in the present Mizo National Front (MNF) government headed by chief minister Zoramthanga.

He has also been recently allotted District Council and Minority Affairs, the portfolio, which cabinet minister R. Lalzirliana had previously held.

Despite repeated attempts, Royte could not be contacted for comment.

The ZPM had alleged in its petition 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.

The petition alleged 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’ in violation of the Mizoram Transparency in Public Procurement Act, 2008 and the Mizoram Public Procurement Rules, 2020, it had said.

Royte has concealed in his affidavit about the ongoing projects undertaken by his firm at the time of filing nomination in 2018 and the NECS has been executing various projects since it was approved as an empanelled firm by the state government in September 2022, it alleged.

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“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 had alleged.

Although Royte’s son, Vanlalfelpuia Royte, was registered as the proprietor of the firm under GST in May 2019, the administration and function of the NECS are fully controlled by Royte, who also enjoys monetary benefits of the firms as Vanlalfelpuia is fully dependent on and is living under one roof with his parents, the petition had also said. 

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