Fighting Corruption or Vindictive Politics?
During its election campaign in Manipur in the early part of 2017, BJP swore to fix accountability for the gross misrule perpetuated in the border state by the Congress, tagging then Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi Singh as the 20 percent CM alleging, he takes that much commission for each and every developmental projects executed in the state during his 15 year rule of Manipur as the Congress’ Chief Minister since 2002.
Seven months after assuming power, on September 2nd, the BJP led N Biren Singh government registered an FIR for offences of cheating, criminal conspiracy and breach of trust against the former Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi Singh and three former chief secretaries, DS Poonia, PC Lawmkunga and O Nabakishore Singh in a case pertaining to financial irregularities in managing Manipur’s premier construction and employment generating agency, Manipur Development Society, MDS. The misappropriation amounts to Rs.185.79 crore and it is hashtagged as MDS scam now. The FIR came after the state’s Vigilance Department submitted its inquiry report on financial irregularities of MDS acting on a complaint filed by the Planning Department in November 2016.
Others named in the scam are MDS’s former Project Director, Yambem Ningthem Singh and the agency’s Administrative Officer, S Ranjit Singh.
According to the State Vigilance Commission inquiry report, the officials and staff of MDS flaunted established procedures, norms and rules particularly while awarding contract works to agencies and caused a financial liability to the tune of Rs 185.79 crores.
Police source said the FIR lodged would help in establishing how and who were responsible for the procedural lapses, mismanagement, misappropriation and misuse of public fund. Police suspects Yambem Ningthem as responsible for concealing missing documents that the Vigilance inquiry reported in the case of MBs, DPRs, sanction papers of MDS. It is under Ningthem’s tenure as Project Director that the police are investigating for financial irregularities.
Hitting back at the present BJP led government for dragging his name in the criminal proceedings without any specific evidence against him, former Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi Singh dared the establishment to prove him guilty in the alleged multi-crore MDS scam.
‘If in the course of investigation, there is any financial irregularities that can be proven that I’ve committed, be it fund diversion, fraudulent withdrawal or anything that implicates me, I shall happily accept any sort punishment awarded to me with grace. However, dragging my name in a criminal case without any specific findings is outrageous.’ Ibobi reacted while speaking with Eastern Panorama on the MDS scam and its implications.
Even as the former Chief Minister was granted anticipatory bail by an interim order of the High Court of Manipur on September 6th, directing Ibobi Singh to make himself available for interrogation and seek the Court’s permission for leaving station as well as prevented him to contact any individuals named in the case, the State government counsel filed an objection report against the interim order.
Reacting to the development, Ibobi refused to comment terming it as sub-judice matter. He however defended his application for anticipatory bail in the case saying he should be given the right to defend himself, alleging that the charges against him are fabricated.
Meanwhile Chief Minister, N Biren Singh stated that the MDS scam will be handed over to the CBI after preliminary inquiry by the state police saying the case is part of the campaign of the new government to wipe out corruption and fix accountability.
To read the further article please get your copy of Eastern Panorama March issue @http://www.magzter.com/IN/Hill-Publications/Eastern-Panorama/News/ or mail to contact @easternpanorama.in