The Manipur Lokayukta has dealt a blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the Assembly elections.
On Wednesday, the Lokayukta asked the Manipur government to register a case against 22 people, including ex-IAS officer and BJP candidate Dinganglung Gangmei for involvement in the misappropriation of ₹18-crore meant for beneficiary schemes in a tribal council.
The BJP has fielded Mr. Gangmei from the Nungba Assembly seat. He was the chief executive officer of the Tamenglong Autonomous District Council (ADC) when it received the funds under the 14th Finance Commission.
Hearing two complaints on January 7, the Lokayukta said “prima facie evidence is established of criminal conspiracy and misappropriation of sanctioned amount” awarded under the 14th Finance Commission for 2017-18 by 11 public officials among the 22 accused. The officials included Mr. Gangmei.
The officials were accordingly charged under Section 5 of the Manipur Public Servants’ Personal Liability Act, 2006.
The Lokayukta noted that the Tamenglong ADC showed undue favour to an implementing agency despite many defaults or errors in the process of awarding the developmental works “in furtherance of their criminal conspiracy”. The projects included development of inter-village roads, construction of water tanks, public toilets, waiting sheds, drainages and improvement of playgrounds.
Taking up the case again, the Lokayukta said a non-local IPS officer should investigate the misappropriation of funds by exercising all the powers conferred under the Manipur Lokayukta Act, 2014. Using its special powers, the Lokayukta directed Ravi Choudhari, the Superintendent of Police of the Kamjong district to investigate the case.
Asking the State’s Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police to ensure that the assigned investigating officer should not be disturbed without its consent, the Lokayukta said the case should be registered at the crime branch police station in Imphal.