Session Judge, Imphal East has granted interim anticipatory bail to managing director and two general managers of Manipur State Power Company Limited (MSPCL) till next date of hearing, which is February 21.
MSPCL managing director N Sarat and general managers Thokchom Kaminimohon and Monoharmayum Budhchandra Sharma had filed applications for granting of anticipatory bail under section 438.
According to the application, the court called records of investigation and objection or status report from SP, Kakching in connection with the case registered against them. They filed anticipatory bail with an apprehension of being arrested by the personnel of crime branch police station, Imphal with recommendation of Manipur Lokayukta for misappropriation of funds.
Manipur Lokayukta, on February 7, recommended Kakching SP Shrey Vats to investigate an alleged fund embezzlement case in connection with the installation of 33 Kv sub-station project in Chakpikarong, Chandel district against three officers of MSPCL.
The Lokayukta has recommended the state government not to allow MSPCL managing director N Sarat Singh to function as its managing director. It recommended to entrust the function and duties of the said post to an official deem appropriate by the state government till the completion of an ongoing investigation.
Manipur Lokayukta stated that as per a report of the inquiry officer, many documents in relation with the present project i.e. installation of 2 x 1 MVA, 33 kv Sub-Station along with the associated 33 kv line and related works at Chakpikarong in Chandel, executed under the work order dated September 25, 2009 are suspected to be manufactured and recently created ones.
Many of the important documents like Measurement Books (MBs) are missing and also many of the officers under the managing director are suspected to be involved in concealing/misplacing and destroying or manufacturing important documents, it stated.
Lokayukta further stated that general managers of MSPCL Thockhom Kaminimohon Singh and Manoharmayum Budhachandra Sharma should be taken out or transferred from their present posting till the completion of the investigation of the case.
During the hearing, the petitioners counsel submitted before the court that the three officers refuted the charges and denied the allegations made in the inquiry report which is frivolous, concocted and vexatious.
The total cost of Rs 9,45,80,605 of the project cost which includes sub-station works including associated civil works in addition to 33KV line construction work not only the cost of 33KV line portion. Although the allegation for misappropriation of Rs 5, 18, 98, 440, as pointed out is false and totally baseless, it stated.
While Special PP submitted that in pursuance of the direction of Lokayukta, the FIR has been registered against twelve accused persons. As per report from the IO, there has been delay on the part of managing director to inform or seek permission from the state government regarding the shortening of 33KV line.
As the investigation is at early stage and having found prima facie case by the Manipur Lokayukta, custodial interrogation of the three officers shall be needed, the petition said.
The court viewed that as many as twelve accused persons have been name in the FIR and the investigation is at early stage and any of the accused persons have not yet been arrested or questioned. It is also not disputed that the three officers are government servants and there is no likelihood of their fleeing from justice from the case.
The case is also based upon the documents and according to the officers all the relevant documents have already been submitted to the Manipur Lokayukta in connection with the complaint leading to the registration of the FIR.
The court opined that a detailed hearing is required regarding the financial norms etc for the execution of the work and also perusal of the case diary. Therefore, interim anticipatory bail has been granted to them.
The court also stated that in the event of their arrest, the IO is directed to release them on interim bail on their furnishing PR Bond one lakh with one surety.
While granting interim anticipatory bail, the court directed the managing director, two general managers to appear before the IO between 8:00 am to 10:00 am every day between February 15-21. They should not influence any prosecution witness and they should co-operate with the investigation of the case and they should not leave the state without prior permission of the court.
The court called further status report from Kakching SP for final consideration on or before February 21.