In an apparent bid to catch former Congress chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh in a pincer move by the present BJP-led Biren Government, a fresh FIR was lodged against him by the State’s Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department on 24 March.
Two former project directors of the Loktak Development Authority of which the former CM was the chairman, namely Ch.Gojendro Singh and Th. Ibobi Singh, were charged in the FIR under Sections 420,120-B of the IPC and Section 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.
Under the sections they were charged with cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct and abusing official position of public servants. The FIR also mentioned that the alleged offenses were committed during August 2008 and October 2009.
The matter centers around the awarding of a Rs 244-crore worth contract work for clearing Phumdi or the floating bio-mass of the Loktak lake to a firm identified as K.Pro Infra Works Pvt. Ltd. The firm had paid up on the capital Rs 10 lakh, that, too, existing only on the papers with none present in the residential flat claimed to be its office in New Delhi.
BJP Manipur in charge Prahad Singh Patel had first lodged a complaint with the CVC in 2015 which subsequently refered the matter to the Union Cabinet Secretariat. Patel lodged a similar complaint with the Niti Aayog as the sum involved formed part of a package of Rs 400 crore earlier cleared by the then Planning Commission.
It may be recollected that earlier in September, Ibobi was named in another scam involving Manipur Development Society of which he was chairman for a while along with three former chief secretaries and two officials of the society.
But what the media and the general public seems to have missed out is the fact that former project director of LDA Th. Ibobi is also the present CIC of the State.
A position bestowed upon him by former CM Ibobi to cover his tracks in the LDA through RTI queries. Ironically Information Commissions had been established across the country to check graft.
Gojendro Singh is at present under suspension after he was caught taking a bribe of Rs 30,000 in his present capacity as chief engineer of the Education Department in a sting operation, which went viral on social media very recently.