Ibobi Singh served as the chief minister of Manipur from 2002 to March 2017
Asserting that he was not guilty, former Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh said he would welcome investigation by any agency in the alleged Rs 186.79 crore MDS scam. The comments came after Chief Minister N Biren Singh had said yesterday that a CBI inquiry will be recommended in the alleged scam.
Claiming that he was not involved in any "irregularity in the MDS case and did not sign any cheque", Ibobo Singh dared the authorities to check the Manipur Development Society account and see "whether any cheque counter-signed by him was utilised in withdrawing money".
Chief Minister N Biren Singh had said yesterday that a CBI inquiry will be recommended in the alleged MDS scam, in which Ibobi Singh has been booked, once the preliminary police investigation is completed.
Ibobi Singh told a press conference yesterday that the FIR, charging him of cheating, breach of trust and criminal conspiracy in connection with the alleged MDS scam, was "very unfortunate".
Ibobi Singh, who served as the chief minister from 2002 to March 2017 before Biren Singh BJP-led government came to power, expressed dissatisfaction that the FIR was lodged without "any specific evidence".
He said, he has "no alternative option but to take necessary legal help".
The former chief minister had received an anticipatory bail in an interim order after he applied for the bail from the Manipur High Court on September 6. The court fixed September 20 for the next hearing.
On asking why he had applied for bail, if he was innocent, Ibobi Singh said, he did not want his name to be tarnished.
Asserting that he was not guilty, he said that he would fight for justice.
The MDS scam is related to alleged misappropriation of funds allotted to MDS for development of infrastructure for water sports in the Loktak lake.
The FIR was lodged on September 1 by the Joint Secretary Th Munindro, Planning, Government of Manipur on the basis of an inquiry report submitted by the Vigilance department.
The vigilance report said the former chief minister "is required to be examined and record his statement as he was the chairman of MDS from July 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014". In November last year, the Planning Department of the state government had approached the Vigilance department to conduct an enquiry into the alleged financial irregularities in MDS.
It was alleged that "officials and staff of MDS had not observed prescribed procedures, establishment's norms and extant rules" including "measurement books, detailed project reports and utilisation certification".
The FIR accused Ibobi Singh, three former chief secretaries and two former chairmen of MDS of cheating, criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misconduct by a public servant.
Those named were former chief secretaries Y Ningthem Singh, P C Lawmkunga and O Nabakishore Singh. Also named in the FIR were former project director of MDS D S Poonia and its administrative officer Ranjit Singh.