SHILLONG, Sept 6 - The Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has paid over Rs 1 crore as legal fees to lawyers for fighting court cases from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018.
This information was disclosed following an RTI filed by the Civil Society Women�s Organization (CSWO). The women�s organisation today expressed �shock and concern� over the payment of such �exorbitant legal fees� to fight court cases.
The MTDC is paying an exorbitant legal fee at the rate of Rs 2 lakh and more for an appearance in the Meghalaya High Court, the CSWO alleged. �The Corporation is a Government of Meghalaya undertaking and it should be bound by its financial rules,� CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing said.
The RTI filed by the women�s organisation revealed that between 2013-2014 and 2017-2018, the Corporation paid an �astronomical amount of Rs 1,90,51,443 to lawyers� appearing in cases for the MTDC.
The CSWO claimed that it has found that the bills were drawn by the legal counsel of the MTDC even when the lawyer was not present in the court or when the lawyer of the MTDC had sought adjournments.
�This is clearly misuse of public funds and power. Action should be taken against those taking advantage of their positions so that other government servants should realise that public funds are not meant for misuse to benefit a few,� Kharshiing maintained.
She said such misuse of public funds is taking place at a time when the Government is complaining of a financial crunch. �The CSWO will take steps to ensure that such persons exploiting their positions are not spared,� Kharshiing said.