Mizoram minister denies holding ‘office of profit’ as opposition ZPM seek his disqualification

Aizawl: The ZPM had alleged in its petition that Royte is the sole owner of North East Consultancy Services (NECS)

BY | Tuesday, 21 March, 2023
Robert Romawia Royte, Minister of Sports & Youth Services, I&CT, and Tourism, Governtment of Mizoram. (Credit: @Mizoram_Tourism/ Twitter)

Mizoram sports minister Robert Romawia Royte on Monday denied allegations that he was holding an ‘office of profit’ by running a consultancy firm with connections with his government.

Addressing a function at the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) office here, Royte, who is also the party adviser, said he does not fear the petition seeking his disqualification “unless it is related to laws unknown to him”.

He claimed that he had proper documents to prove that he did not own a firm and did not hold an ‘office of profit’ as claimed in the petition.

“I have proper documents and a substantial proof. It is personnel matter. There is nothing to fear about it (petition) unless it is related to laws unknown to me,” Royte said, adding that he is yet to receive a copy of the petition from the authority concerned.

Earlier, the minister had told reporters that he had transferred the ownership of his consultancy firm to his son soon after he was elected to the state assembly.

Royte, who also holds tourism, information technology and district council and minority affairs portfolios, said that the petition filed by opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), sought his disqualification for allegedly holding office of profit.

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

The ZPM had alleged in its petition that Royte is the sole owner of North East Consultancy Services (NECS) and 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 had alleged that the firm entered into subsisting contract with the government by executing ‘deed of agreement’ with the state District Council and Minority Affairs department in June 2022 for 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.

Last week, state Governor Dr. Hari Babu Kambhampati had sought the opinion of the Election Commission of India (ECI) on the petition.

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