New Delhi: The The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday conducted raids on the premises of former Manipur chief minister O. Ibobi Singh and a few IAS officers and claimed to have recovered a total of Rs 15.47 lakh cash and also Rs 36.49 lakh in demonetised currency.
Of the total amount, Rs 11.47 lakh cash and Rs 26.49 lakh in demonetised currency were seized from the residence of Ibobi Singh alone, said the CBI.
The agency had registered a case against Singh and the IAS officers Thursday for alleged misappropriation of public funds to the tune of Rs 332 crore.
CBI teams conducted raids at nine locations in Aizawl, Imphal and Gurugram, including residences of Singh, Friday morning.
Singh’s is the first big name to figure in the list of people caught with such a huge amount of cash in demonetised currency.
Possessing demonetised currency is an offence under the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017 and a person found guilty under it may have to pay a fine five times of the amount seized.
The CBI also claimed to have found that Singh and the IAS officers booked along with him possess several properties, luxury cars and expensive branded items that could have been illegally purchased using public money.
Incidentally, Ibobi Singh was in Delhi Friday, participating in a protest at Jantar Mantar against non-disclosure of the contents of Naga Peace Accord.
He refrained from commenting on the case against him.
According to a source in the CBI, the agency registered the case against him after a complaint was lodged by the BJP-led Manipur government.
Singh, who has been the chief minister of Manipur for 15 years, is currently the Leader of Opposition.
The case against Ibobi Singh
According to the CBI, Singh, as the chairman of Manipur Development Society from 30 June 2009 to 6 July 2017, in conspiracy with others, misappropriated government funds to the tune of Rs 332 crore out of the total amount of Rs 518 crore.
Apart from Singh, the FIR names four retired IAS officers, including the then chairman of MDS, Y. Ningthem Singh, former project director D.S. Poonia, P.C. Lawmuknga, and O. Nabakishore Singh.
The FIR also names MDS Administrative Officer S. Ranjit Singh and others on the request of the Manipur government and further notification from the Government of India.
“It was alleged that the accused while working as chairman of Manipur Development Society, in conspiracy with others, misappropriated government funds to the tune of Rs 332 crore, entrusted to them for the purpose of executing development work,” said a CBI officer, who did not wish to be named.
“The case is under investigation. Raids are being conducted in several offices including the residence of the former minister and his offices. The complaint regarding the misappropriation of funds was handed over to us by the state government, following which the case was filed and investigation started,” the officer added.
Raids and recoveries
Apart from cash and demonetised currency, the CBI also seized documents related to ownership of various properties, including plots, houses and apartments belonging to Singh and his family members, along with details of a series of bank accounts.
“Movable items including expensive branded items and eight luxury cars including an Audi, Mitsubishi, Honda, Hyundai and Fortuner too were found to be in possession of the accused,” said a CBI officer.
Rs 10 lakh in demonetised currency was seized from the premises of Y. Ningthem Singh.
According to the CBI, Ningthem owns two sets of palatial properties in Imphal, approximately measuring 3,500 square yards and complete with garden and swimming pool.
CBI also found that D.S. Punia owns one apartment in Uniworld City, one residential plot in Noida, two shops in Dwarka, one flat in Saket and has seven bank accounts.
From the house of P.C. Lawnmkunga, the CBI seized Rs 4 lakh cash.
The investigation also revealed that O. Nabakishore owns a four-storey building spread over 7,000 square feet. Apart from that, he also has two houses, nine bank accounts, a flat in Ghaziabad, a flat in Gurugram, a two-storey under-construction building in Manipur, and a Hyundai dealership in Imphal in the name of his wife and son, the CBI claimed.
“Another accused in the case, Ranjeet Singh, whose office and residence were also raided, owns a double-storied house in Aizawl and 2 acres of agriculture land near Imphal in his wife’s name,” a CBI officer said.
Ibobi Singh at Jantar Mantar protest
The case against Singh was registered a day before he was to sit in a protest against non-disclosure of the contents of Naga Peace Accord.
The Congress had Thursday announced that Singh would be participating in a demonstration at Jantar Mantar Friday to protest against the non-disclosure of the contents of the Naga Peace Accord under discussion between the government and other stakeholders, and the re-introduction of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament.
Negotiations for the Naga Accord — which aims to conclude a 23-year dialogue for peace in Nagaland, home to India’s oldest insurgency — are currently going on.
The Naga insurgency that had started in the early 20th century was initially centred on the demand for a Greater Nagaland, comprising the state and Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar.
While the central government has ruled out any disintegration of these states, the people of Manipur have their doubts about Greater Nagaland affecting the territorial integrity of their state.
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