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Nagaland Lokayukta orders probe against Deputy CM

Patton is accused of helping NPSC candidates

The Lokayukta of Nagaland has ordered a “preliminary enquiry” into charges that Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton had offered to help the candidates of Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC) get through the interview stage.

Lokayukta Justice Uma Nath Singh, a former Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court, said that his order on Thursday was based on a complaint received by the Nagaland Lokayukta Police Establishment. Vicca S. Aye, a former president of the Sumi (tribe) Students’ Union, had on Wednesday lodged the complaint against Mr. Patton’s alleged offer.

Mr. Aye complained that Mr. Patton, serving as Nagaland’s Home Minister for seven years now, had indulged in “rampant abuse of administrative discretion and favouritism and interfered in the normal administrative functioning of the police department”. He also alleged that 1,135 appointments were made in the police department without the posts being advertised for.

The Lokayukta found the complaint “procedurally in order” and advised proper verification of the facts as the allegations relate to “a high public functionary” and any gap “may have a cascading effect on the existence of the State government”.

His order read: “I think it appropriate to exercise my powers under Section 11 of Nagaland Lokayukta Act and thus, I direct the coordinating officer/inspector, Nagaland Lokayukta Police Establishment), to register a preliminary enquiry to be conducted by the higher authority/functionary, namely the Chief Minister of Nagaland, who shall submit his report on affidavit before the next date of hearing. I also direct the Deputy Chief Minister Y. Patton to file his reply on affidavit to the allegations in the complaint.”

The Lokayukta also directed the Commissioner of Police in Dimapur to ensure the protection of the complainant “who comes in the category of whistleblower”, and warned that failing to do so would invite necessary legal consequences against the authority responsible for such protection.

Prior to the complaint, Mr. Aye had written to State Governor R.N. Ravi with reference to an audio recording of Mr. Patton's speech at a conference of the Lotha Students’ Union on January 28, in which he is heard asking all civil services aspirants to approach him after getting through the written examination of the NPSC.

“He [Mr. Patton] said that he will be able to manage the interview and help the aspirants get through as he has always been practising the give and take policy of exchanging jobs between various authorities,” Mr. Aye said. “I will fight such blatant misuse of power that compromises the quality of administration and threatens national security through backdoor appointments. Why were 1,135 candidates selected for 208 vacancies in the police? I don’t mind if members of a particular tribe or party affiliation get the job, but they should be academically eligible and physically fit, selected through open recruitment so that everyone gets an opportunity without political backing," Mr. Aye told The Hindu.

Mr. Patton is the leader of the Nagaland BJP Legislature Party.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:17:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/nagaland-lokayukta-orders-probe-against-deputy-cm/article30875228.ece

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