Imphal, January 4, 2018: Chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh reacting over the news report ‘Belt scam ends in whimper, only 20 to be replaced’ published in Imphal Free Press said his government will not spare any offender at any cost.
The press report said the paper belt case has now been resolved following a tame agreement that 20 numbers of “defective belts” will be replaced.
After the chief minister had witnessed the paper belt supplied to the police department when he inspected in June the government had suspended from service and holding back retirement benefits. While Senapati SP, F. Gonglin and additional SP (Ops), M. Kumarjit was suspended, retired IPS, S. Manglemjao’s pension benefit was held back, said the report.
Now, the matter has been resolved following replacement of only 20 belts. Each of these will be replaced at a cost of Rs 117 per piece, mentioned the press report.
The chief minister in response clarified that the state government had constituted an Inquiry Committee to probe the supply of uniform and web equipment items to the Manipur Police department during 2013-14.
He made his appeal to the media fraternity of the state to cross-check the information with all the parties concerned before publishing news reports.
He urged to be extra cautious while filing any news which may defame or damage the reputation of any organisation or individual or government. He made the appeal while speaking at a press conference held at the cabinet hall of chief minister’s secretariat yesterday.
As per the inquiry committee report, 20,000 leather belts amounting to Rs. 23, 40,000 supplied by M/s Md. Abdul Gani Khan were found to be defective and of poor quality, he said.
An FIR was lodged against the said supplier and investigation is going on apart from blacklisting the firm, he said while adding that the High Court of Manipur had quashed and set aside the Government order.
He further said that the Government had issued a show cause notice to M/s Abdul Ghani Khan although the order of blacklisting the firm had been revoked in compliance with the Court order.
Further, on the basis of the inquiry report, the state government had taken action by placing the two serving officers Faumei Gonglin, IPS, the then CO of 2nd MR and M. Kumarjit Singh, the then AC of 1st MR under suspension, he said while adding that the government had also withheld the pension of S. Manglemjao Singh, retired IGP and the then chairman of the Line Committee.
Biren Singh further said although the suspension order of the two officers had been revoked, the government issued an order to prosecute the two officers under Manipur Public Servants’ Personal Liability Act to recover the cost of the public exchequer.
Moreover, a Departmental enquiry had also been ordered against them, he said.
In respect of the retired IGP, the State Government had written to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for institution of disciplinary proceedings against him, he added.
Responding to a query, the Chief Minister said that the present Government would never spare any offender at any cost.
Biren Singh also informed the media persons that as promised earlier, Imphal-Delhi direct flight service had been introduced from January 2 this year.
There would be two flights in a week on Sunday and Tuesday as of now, he added. He further said he had talked to the top officials of Air Asia and Airports Authority of India to facilitate launching of daily Imphal-Delhi direct flights.
He expressed confidence that Air Asia may introduce daily flights between Imphal and the National capital from the first week of April this year.
The chief minister also said that he had requested Air Asia officials to introduce direct flights from Imphal to cities like Chennai and Bengaluru etc, where sizable number of Manipuri people is residing.