FIRs against ex-CM, 3 ex-CSs and ex-MDS chief
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sept 1
As promised by the BJP to probe all irregularities during 15-year long rule of Okram Ibobi Singh the Imphal police station today registered an FIR against former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, three former chief secretaries, a former director of Manipur Development Society (MDS) and an official of the society.
The FIR was registered in connection with alleged financial irregularities in the functioning of MDS. They have been charged under Section 420/460/120-B of IPC and Section 13 (2) of Personal Libailities Act 1998.
The FIR charged the six with cheating, criminal conspiracy and breach of trust. The charge of breach of trust is non-bailable offence and liable to be punished with three years imprisonment with or without fine.
The other five are former project director of MDS, Y. Ningthem Singh, former chief secretary D. S. Ponia, former chief secretary P. C. Lawmkunga, former chief secretary O. Nabakishore Singh and administrative officer of MDS S. Ranjit Singh.
While Poonia and Lawmkunga are already retired, Nabakishore Singh is now director of State Academy of Training.
The FIR was registered after Th. Muhindro Singh, under joint secretary, state planning department directed the suprintendent of police Imphal West, Themgthing Ngashanva today, to register an FIR for investigation on the basis of the findings of an inquiry conducted by the State Vigilance Commission into alleged financial irregularities in the MDS.
Vigilance Commission report named the six persons, stating that they are required for examination for the investigation into financial irregularities in the MDS.
All the three former chief secretaries were chairman of the MDS by virtue of their posts (chief secretary) and Ibobi Singh was also a chairnman of the MDS from July 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014.
The vigilance report said being the then chairman of MDS Ibobi Singh is required to be examined and recording of his statement is required.
“The projects taken up under his (Ibobi) chairmanship and the transaction done by MDS for various project works of line departments during his tenure needs to be verified and studied that no procedural lapses are found and that the prescribed norms and extant rules for implementation of various projects by MDS and other line departments are scrupulously observed in public interest.”
The report further stated that officials and staff of the society had not observed prescribed procedures, established norms etc, thereby facilitating the misappropriation of government funds.
“The enquiry found that a large number of works had been entrusted to work agencies without work agreements and tender procedures. Payments had been made for such works, for which no such procedure had been followed also,” the findings said. The report further said the commission is of the highest opinion that certain persons who can be influential and diktat terms in the functioning of MDS should be included in the examination during the cource of examination.
The joint secretary in his letter to the superintendent of police said the total liabilities to MDS is Rs. 185.79 crore.
The vigilence findings further said measurement books, sanction orders, detailed project reports, cheque issue registers, utilisation certificates etc are not properly maintained by MDS.
“As such the officials and staff of the MDS did not furnish any relevant document leaving an impression to the commission of hatching a criminal conspiracy with common intention to misappropriate government funds for deposit works entrusted to MDS,” the report said.
The vigilance commission recommended for registering a regular FIR for a thorough investigation. The report further said officials of line departments ned to be examined.
The vigilance commission pointed that all the documents and relevant papers including measurement books, detailed project reports, sanction papers are not available at the MDS office at present. It said that all the papers are in possession of Ningthem and needs to be requisitioned from him. It said that his statement is very much required to be recorded to do justice to the case.
Moreover, the bank accounts particularly the saving accounts opened in the name of MDS was operated by him singly or with his staffs needs to be verified and investigated for the purpose of their needs and intentions, the commission submitted.
The Vigilance commission pointed out that a lot of transactions for MDS have been found to be conducted during the tenure of Poonia which is from 2009 till 2013. It said that Poonia is required to be examined and his statement recorded to check procedural lapses if any, and further for Poonia to give justification to the commission of the action done by the MDS during his chairmanship. This is to clear the commission’s doubt that government money has been misappropriated.
The vigilance commission pointed out that O. Ibobi by virtue of being the MDS chairman from 2013 to 2014 is the joint account holder and the joint signatory of MDS bank accounts. The project director Y. Ningthem is not competent to make any transaction without the knowledge of the chairman.
The vigilance commission pointed out that Ibobi is bound to have knowledge of all transactions of MDS during his tenure. It sought that Ibobi is required to be examined and also that his statement must be recorded.
Further that the projects taken up during his tenure and the transaction done by MDS for various project works of line departments during his tenure needs to be verified and studied that no procedural lapses are found and that the prescribed procedures,established norms and extant rules for implementation of various projects by MDS and other line department are scrupulously observed in public interest, the commission said.
Being the chief secretary and chairman of MDS from 2014 till 2015, the vigilance commission pointed out that Lawmkunga will have knowledge of all financial transactions. It said that he also should be examined and check if any procedural lapses,financial misappropriation,acts of omission and commission by the officials of MDS has occurred or not during his tenure.
He was the chairman from 2015 till 2017 and the commission urged that his statement must be recorded and examined, the projects taken up by MDS during his tenure needs to be studied. It said that there may be instances where cheques are countersigned by him being the chairman of MDS and the project director could not have made any transaction without his consent.
The Vigilance commission pointed out that all cheques of agriculture and general administration of MDS will be signed by the project director and administrative officer. It was learnt that cheques have been countersigned by Ranjit and Ningthem and doubts arose to the commission that certain procedure and extant norms have been overlooked with prefixed and predisposed mind causing loss to the government exchequer.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sept 1
Two police officers, an IPS and an MPS officers have been placed under suspension while retirement benefit of a retired IPS officer has been withheld as disciplinary action.
Three separate orders were issued by the department of personnel and administrative reforms with regards to the disciplinary actions against the officers.
Although the orders did not mention any details, it is believed that the suspension could relate to the case of supply of low quality belt for state police.
The suspended police officers have been identified as F. Gonglin, IPS SP Senapati and M. Kumarjit, MPS, additional SP (Ops), Imphal East district.
The retired police officer whose retirement benefit is upheld has been identified as S. Manglemjao, IPS (retired) the then IGP-(Ops).
The order said the police officers were not to leave their stations or headquarter without obtaining permission of the competent authority during the period of suspension.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sept 1
The call to scrap Ithai Dam intensifies as locals of Thanga protested today urging the state government to decommission the dam. The local fishing community along with other activists echoed that Ithai dam is more a “curse” rather than bringing development.
A community meet on merits and demerits of 105 megawatt Loktak Project was held at Thanga, Haorang Chingya today. The meet was organized by Citizens Concern for Dams and Development, North East Dialogue Forum, Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, Committee on Human Rights, Irabot Foudation, United Clubs of Thanga, All Thanga Meira Paibi Apunba Organization, Loktak Project Affected Areas Action Committee and Loktak Fisheries Welfare Association.
Among the speakers, Y. Maipakchao of Thanga and president of United Clubs of Thanga said that the project has brought only problems and instead of development. The indigenous fish and prawns, different edible water plants and paddy cultivated in the phumdis have also disappeared. It is high time that the public put pressure on the government to decommission the Ithai barrage, he said.
Leinungshi, secretary of ATMPAO said that the Loktak and the people surrounding the lake was self-sufficient before the dam came. “There was no need for getting rice when times were hard and we all depended on Heikrak and other water plants. The phumdis were cleared every six months and planted again and such was the exercise. Now, after the dam had been commissioned, all farm lands have been flooded and the catch has gone down,” she said. “They do know how to take care of the lake. They sit behind desks and do paperworks. We have been there since time immemorial and we know how to take care of the lake. The dam needs to go and the public need to rally to CM Biren’s initiative to decommission the project,” she said.
Ph. Deban, AMUCO president said that the lake has become a centre for contract works and some people are skimming huge profits. The indigenous fish, which are supposed to spawn at the lake has not been able to come. The electric supply, which was promished to the public, is a farce. The dam is also another main cause for flash floods in the state.
“We appeal to the government to open the dam when flooding occurs. The siltation in the rivers is also caused by the dam. Is the government remaining blind to the damage? This is a project for thieves and not for the welfare of the people,” he said, adding that the dam has made us dependent on other states.
“In 1939 rice was exported from here and led to the Nupi Lal. Now the tables have turned and our self-reliance has gone. The mineral resources of our state have been exploited and the lake is also exploited. The Loktak Development Authority needs to go and the useless dam needs to be de-commissioned,” he concluded.
Senior environmentalist RK Ranjan said before the dam was commissioned in 1983, the Iril, Imphal, Thoubal river, Chakpi and others flowed freely. The Khordak river brings the culminated water into the lake. The upstream and downstream flow of the rivers have been disturbed. The siltation has been brought to the lake and all of this is caused by the dam.The state has witnessed three floods in this year. Engineers of the Loktak project state that the siltation in rivers beds is the cause of flooding but this is false, he said.
Further, there is no memorandum of understanding between the state and the NHPC regarding the project. The chief secretary has intimated the Central Water Commission to give the MoU now. Even CM Biren had urged the ministry and the Prime Minister that the Ithai barrage needs to be decommissioned.
Sareng, Ngatin, Pengba Tharak etc. have all disappeared but the other species brought from outside have been thriving on the polluted water of the lake.This is another calamity for the future. Nearly 54,000 hectares have been devastated and ‘food soverignity’ has gone, he said. “How much rice would have been produced in the last 34 years,” he mentioned, adding that foreign breed of rice and chemicals have been used to supplement the shortage is a health hazard.
“NHPC is not producing electricity either now and the public purchase power supplied from the national power grid. Does our government know how much water was used during the last few months. We have no development but our culture is at stake. Our food source is diminishing. A fact finding report needs to be sought about dredging river beds. It will be a contract for some people only. Rather, trees should be planted in the riverbeds to be able to stop the force of the floods,” he said.
A rally was later taken out by the public demanding the decommissioning of the dam.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sept 1
Power minister Th. Bishwajit Singh has said state government will apprise the Prime Minister of India on the grievances faced by the people due to Loktak project.
Bishwajit was responding to queries of media persons on the sideline of the inauguration of a bailey bridge in Saikul today, with regards to demand from various angle to decommission the Loktak hydroelectric project of the national hydroelectric power corporation (NHPC).
Further in his response, Bishwajit said the state government is seriously discussing on the merits and demerits of the NHPC’s Loktak project and found the grievances raised by the people genuine.
Although acknowledging the area submerged by the project, the minister informed that the state government cannot act alone on the matter as the project was commissioned after due agreement with the Centre.
Nevertheless, Bishwajit assured that the state government will urge the Centre to decommission the project citing the impact on the environment and futility of the project as assured.
“We are seriously discussing on the grievances raised by the people on the harm done by the Loktak project. Soon a decision will be taken by convening all political party meet or by state cabinet in favour of the people and the same will be sent in the form of written representation to the Prime Minister”, said Bishwajit.
He further revealed that the Governor of Manipur has also sent a written intimation to the Prime Minister of India highlighting the grievances of the people.
Clarifying on the objection raised by civil bodies on oil exploration in the state, he said the present government has no intention to exploit the resources of the people but to serve its people.
As a responsible government we are open to any suggestions and opinions of experts with regards to the matter rather than spreading criticism through social networking sites, he rued.
“The government’s door is always open for discussion on the merits and demerits on the initiative of the government on oil exploration. If the possible outcome is against the interest of the people the government will be happy to act accordingly”, maintained Bishwajit.
IMPHAL | Aug 31
Tollfree ‘181’ women helpline number, which was launched on June 23 by social welfare minister Nemcha Kipgen has received 1357 calls and the total cases taken up is 82, G. Ravi Sharma, helpline manager and Deepavalli Khaidem, senior call responder told Imphal Free Press.
Deepavalli reported that out of the registered cases, domestic violence case is the highest followed by other cases like attempt to rape, physical torture, extra-marital affairs and missing report. “We have also received many prank calls,” she added.
The helpline received the most calls from Thoubal, Imphal East and West, Churachandpur, Bishunpur and Senapati, said Deepavalli.
The 24/7 telecom service to women is closely related with the police, Manipur State Commission for Women, hospitals, and legal aid clinics and most of the time cases are referred to these three agencies.
Ravi maintained that the privacy of the callers are respected and it never discloses the details to anyone except for the transferred agencies/channels.
The helpline manager explained that there are four homes that distressed women are kept after their complaints are filed at the helpline. One stop centre is one that gives immediate relief/solution be it medical, legal, police or counselling. It also provides free fooding and lodging. There is only one ‘one stop centre’ currently at Thoubal and the complainant can stay there for five days maximum.
If the victims prefer to prolong the stay under the facility of 181, they will be transferred to Swadhar home which provides counselling, legal aids and other facilities even skill development programmes. For general problems like domestic violence, bigamy, family differences victims are mainly acomodated there. So far five women were sheltered in Swadhar home and their cases are still ongoing.
Ujjwala home is another home where serious violence cases are handled like trafficked women, commercial sex workers and so on. In children home, victims are under 18 years.
Besides one stop centre, all the other homes are available in all districts, Ravi added.
The helpline has eight call responders and they are trained every week to sensitise oneself build confidence and to cover every aspect of problems as possible. Ravi said that “we are on the plan to get to other hill districts which are not aware of this number but we have to be trained first.”
Ravi urged the general public not to misuse this number by giving missed calls and disturbing the staffs and also keeping the line busy.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sept 1
Social activist Ningthoucha Lancha wondered how population of non-locals in Jiribam reached 71 percent as it was only 349 out of six thousand indigenous people during the census report of pre-merger agreement.
Speaking to media in a meeting held today at Manipur Press Club organised by Coordinating Committee of Civil Societies on the topic “Manipur leingak ta meetop ki fida piba amashung khut thingjinba” Lancha said the meeting is related with the present situation of the state in the backdrop of electing one Bangladeshi Ashab Uddin from Jiribam district as an Independent MLA.
The meeting will be discussing on the procedure Ashab Uddin was elected and how the public will accept him in the society. It will also discuss on why the executive estate replaced the post of chief secretary O. Nabakishore by a non-local.
Talented people of the state have been emigrating in search of jobs outside the state whereas immigrants are becoming overflowed in the state. If proper steps are not taken soon, extinction of indigenous people is a must in some decades, he added.
Lancha said before the pre-merger agreement during 1951 Kangpokpi was settled by Burmese, Nepalese with a population of mere 437 and population of Keishamthong and Sagolband constituency were eight thousand and 11 thousand respectively.
According to the present census report Keishamthong and Sagolband constituencies has reached about 30 thousands and 35 thousands. But population of Kangpokpi and Jiribam have reached to a level that can claim to form a new district by now without much increment of indigenous population. The reason would be excessive entry of non-locals in the state, he added.
Lancha further claimed, Ashab Uddin has elected from Jiribam district and now he is involving while ruling the government. Rights for indigenous people would be lost if more non-locals have elected in future.
According to merger agreement under article 9 it has stated that non-locals can settle in the state. But under the order of Supreme Court the merger agreement has expired on July 1994. In Mizoram government jobs are given priority to the native people. Likewise the state should give the job priority to the indigenous people other than non-local.
In order to bring positive outcome for indigenous people central and state government including other civil society organisations must communicate to frame a right which would be prioritised for the native people, Lancha added.
President of Eramdam Kanba Apunba Lup, O. Bimola, Sonamani Potshangbam, president of Women Association Socio-economic Development, RK. Tharaksana and president of The Loumee Shinmee Apunba Lup Mutum Churamani also attend themeeting as dignitaries.
IMPHAL | Sept 1
The governor of Manipur, Najima Heptulla has expressed greetings to the people of Manipur, especially to the Muslim brethren on the auspicious and joyous occasion of “Eid-Ul-Zuha.”
“This Holy Festival not only spreads the messages of peace, brotherhood and universal love but also enjoins making to perform deeds of positive value to enhance our souls. The message associated with this festival is most relevant in the present turmoiled world” said a release signed by the governer Dr. Najima Heptulla. The release further said “let us strengthen the feeling on oneness and any ill-will which may be there, should be either forgotten or forgiven. Let us also remember that we human beings inhabit only one planet and the whole world is but a single family and any strife should be resolved though peaceful means. On this auspicious occasion, as beneficiaries of the showers of love of the Allah, let us take a stand to work together to preserve and propagate the message of peace, friendship and love.”
IMPHAL | Sept 1
The chief minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh conveyed his warm greetings and wishes for Id-Ul-Zuha to the people of Manipur, especially the Muslim brothers.
The chief minister also shared the joy on the festival that promotes the feeling of compassion and love and to serve the poor and needy. He further extended his wish for a common brotherhood to serve the cause of humanity for a peaceful and prosperous Manipur.
IMPHAL | Sept 1
The four member team who participated in the August 27 Miss Transgender India 2017 organised by Suhani Dream Catchers at “The Bristol”, Gurugram, heartily extended their gratitude to all who supported in their commendable effort.
It may be recalled, the four between the four of them they brought back five subtitles and the first runner up title. They are: Eliza Ngangom (Best Costume); Loiloi Haorungbam (Miss Catwalk and First Runner Up); Rava Khangembam (Miss Beautiful Hair); and Rohit Khumanthem (Miss Popular and Miss Beautiful Body)
The four in particular were profusely thankful to their mentors and guides, Ms. Tanuja Rajkumari, Ms Mala Laishram, Mrs. Saroja K, Mrs Suchitra Devi, Romi Meitei and Sada Morangcha.
IMPHAL | Sept 1
Deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh has assured to consider 22 point charter of demand made by Joint Administrative Council (JAC) of All Manipur Trade Unions’ Council (AMTUC) and All Manipur Government Employees’ Organisation (AMGEO).
He assured to consider their demands while he was interacting with the representatives of JAC today at his official chamber at state secretariat in Imphal.
Altogether 14 representatives including four women, headed by secretary general of JAC Laitonjam Biken Singh had an hour long interaction with the deputy chief minister who is also in-charge of finance highlighting 22 point charter of demand.
The demands include implementation of the 7th Central Pay in-toto revision and extending all its benefit to all the state government employees, pensioners and family pensioners without delay, to revise the rate of minimum wage from time to time at central norms, no re-employment/extension of services beyond the age of superannuation against the government of India’s O.M., discontinuation of holding/assigning several posts as in-charge or look-after basis, to lift ban on direct recruitment to fill up all the sanctioned regular posts resultant vacancies lying in various departments, to enhance duty allowance of home guards, to increase ration money for Manipur police, IRB, security personal as paid to the central security forces, to establish Manipur State Staff Selection Commission for recruitment of Group ‘C’ employees and to extend medical re-imbursement facility to pensioners and family pensioners among others.
After the discussion, deputy chief minister said, state government will try to implement the 7th Pay recommendations after a detailed discussion on resource mobilization. He said, since its inception, the state government has been trying to enhance revenue resources in all sectors.
But, implementation of 7th Pay recommendations will incur a huge financial involvement to the government and therefore, a detailed exercise on revenue resources has to be made to ensure its implementation, he added.
Joykumar further said with the implementation of new taxation system i.e. GST in the country, state government will also look into the technicalities of its collection and overall revenue generation to the state.
On demands made by JAC regarding policy matters and grievances faced by the state government employees, he assured to take up and address their grievances at the earliest.