A local court in Mizoram on Monday sentenced the lone BJP MLA from the state Buddha Dhan Chakma and 12 others to rigorous imprisonment for one year and also fined Rs 10,000 in a 10-year-old corruption case.
The BJP MLA, however, said after the court’s decision that he would move the Gauhati High Court against the special judge (Prevention of Corruption Act) court’s decision.
Besides the 49-year-old BJP MLA, the other 12 Chakma leaders include Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) chief executive member (CEM) Buddha Leela Chakma, two executive members and three former CEMs of the autonomous body.
The court had on Friday convicted the MLA and 12 other Chakma leaders under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, saying they misappropriated Rs 137.10 lakh allocated by the government for development works. The accused had taken the money as advance salary without the permission of the governor and the state government.
The corruption cases against the 13 leaders were initiated by the then state BJP general secretary and current state party president Vanlalhamuka, who submitted a written complaint to the then governor in 2013.
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Following the complaint, the Governor had constituted a one-man inquiry commission and based on the commission’s report, the Mizoram Zilla Parishad and the Minority Affairs Department lodged an FIR with the State Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in 2018.
When Vanlalmuaka complained, BD Chakma was leading the Congress-ruled CADC as CEM in those days. Chakma was later elected to the state assembly on a Congress ticket and resigned as a minister in protest of the then state government led by Congress leader Lal Thanhawla being denied admission to medical seats to four Chakma students in 2017. He later joined the BJP and was elected to the state assembly in the 2018 assembly elections as a BJP candidate. In this way he became the first BJP MLA from the bordering northeastern state.