CBI summons former Manipur CM, two days after he stakes claim to form govt

While NPP leaders and deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh says no decision yet on whom to support

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Shillong: Call it coincidence but Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s summon to former Manipur chief minister Ibobi Singh for a 2009-17 embezzlement case could not have been better-timed. The central investigating officials will question Singh for misappropriation of Rs 332 crore of public funds during his tenure as the chairman of the Manipur Development Society (MDS) from June 2009-July 2017, agency reports said.

After the BJP-led coalition government with N Biren Singh as chief minister plunged into a crisis, Singh staked claim to form government with the support of the dissenting NPP leaders, including deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh.

The state Congress leaders, led by Singh, had met Governor Najma Heptullah a day after four NPP MLAs, besides five others, withdrew support to the BJP. Congress had sought a special Assembly session to move no-confidence motion against the Biren Singh government.

When asked about the timing of the CBI raid, Joykumar told this correspondent on phone that the case was already there and “I have nothing much to comment on this”.

On whether the NPP has decided on whom to support (BJP or Congress), the senior NPP leader maintained that no decision had been taken yet.

According to PTI, a CBI team has reached Imphal to question Singh and other accused. They are supposed to be quizzed at the agency office on Wednesday.

The CBI had taken over the case on November 20 last year on the request of the state’s BJP government. It is alleged that Singh conspired with others during his tenure as the chairman of the Manipur Development Society (MDS) from June 2009-July 2017, and misappropriated government funds worth approximately Rs 332 crore out of Rs 518 crore that was entrusted to them for the purpose of executing development work, according to the officials.

However, it is not known why, when the CBI took over the case last November chose this time of the pandemic and a political crisis in the state to investigate and quiz Singh.
Along with Singh, the CBI has also named three former MDS chairmen — D S Poonia, PC Lawmuknga, O Nabakishore Singh — all retired IAS officers. Y Ningthem Singh, the former project director of the society and S Ranjit Singh, its administrative officer, have also been named in the FIR. Other accused will be called for questioning soon.

With inputs from agencies

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