Aizawl: A special court in Aizawl on Monday sentenced a senior IAS officer to three years’ rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case.
Court officials said that Thang Lianmang Guite, a special judge in the special court of Prevention of Corruption Act, has convicted Rodney Lalrinawma Ralte, who is a secretary under the Mizoram government, for misappropriating over Rs 14 lakh of public money during his office as the deputy commissioner of Mamit district between 2011 and 2012.
The special court also slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Ralte, failing which his imprisonment term will be extended by another year.
Ralte, who was a Mizo Civil Service (MCS) officer conferred IAS in 2011, had embezzled over Rs 14 lakh meant for relocation of Andermanik village from Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mamit district bordering Tripura when he was posted as the deputy commission of the district from July 2011 to June 2012.
A preliminary inquiry launched by the state’s Anti Corruption Bureau in 2012 had revealed that Ralte had misappropriated over 3% of the proposed fund. He was arrested in September 2013 and was charge sheeted after prosecution sanction in October 2017.
During the trial, at least 17 witnesses were examined.
The prosecution said that the National Tiger Conservation Authority sanctioned Rs 2,770 lakh for relocation of Andermanik village of which Rs 2,043 lakh was received as first installment in December 2010.
Out of this, Rs 1,135 lakh was utilised for compensation and the rest Rs 745.70 lakh was earmarked for creation of community assets, including allocation of Rs 60 lakh and Rs 20.90 lakh as common fund and contingency fund, respectively, under the control of the DC.
The prosecution said that Ralte had swindled over Rs 14 lakh out of the Rs 22.50 lakh he sanctioned for the construction of 10 works and a side drain at Andermanik village and also sitting allowance of officials by fabricating Actual Payee Receipt (APR).
Although the convict was punishable with imprisonment that may extend to seven years, the special court has sentenced him to three years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine after his counsel pleaded mercy on medical ground and that the convict is a government servant, who has been awarded several times for his meritorious service during 33 years.
Ralte is currently posted as secretary of horticulture and district council & minority affairs under the state government.
Sources said that Ralte was granted one month’s bail and he is planning to approach a higher court.