Guwahati: In what could turn out to be a major financial ‘scam’ in the Northeast, huge amounts of money, allegedly to the tune of several crores, were “withdrawn” by the public works and power departments of Manipur government during the period of March to May, when the model code of conduct was in force.
In the wake of this, the state government on Thursday instituted a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Manipur principal secretary V Vumlunmang to investigate the alleged misappropriation of state funds.
In an office memorandum (bearing no 4/2/2019-CM, dated June 13, 2019), a copy of which is with EastMojo, the state government announced that it has formed a three-member inquiry committee to investigate the case. Apart from Vumlunmang, the other two members include commissioner-cum-secretary Nidhi Kesarwani and deputy secretary W Ajit Singh.
“The committee will also examine large withdrawals by other departments of the state government,” sources in the chief minister’s office (CMO) said.
All administrative secretaries and heads of departments of the state shall provide the required documents and information called by the committee on time.
Meanwhile, in a major development, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh stripped deputy chief minister Y Joykumar Singh of the finance portfolio on Thursday.
Apart from Singh, another senior minister, Thongam Biswajit Singh, also got the sack — he has reportedly been removed from key departments like PWD and power.
As per the reshuffle, CM Singh has now taken over finance, power, PWD, excise, taxation in addition to his existing portfolios. Similarly, deputy CM Joykumar, who belongs to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally in the state — National People’s Party (NPP) — has retained science and technology, economics and statistics and civil aviation.
Meanwhile, Biswajit Singh has been given portfolios of rural development and panchayati raj, commerce and industries, administrative reforms and training, information and public relations.
The decision, which might have wide political ramifications in days to come in the Northeast state, was taken following a state Cabinet meeting that authorised the chief minister to take all necessary disciplinary actions to imbibe a culture of financial prudence and property in key government departments.
Meanwhile, sources close to the state Cabinet informed EastMojo that a thorough investigation of the sanction procedures and financial management would be conducted for all key departments.
“The government is committed to bringing a new phase wherein financial discipline will be the hallmark of governance. The government also assures its employees that timely disbursement of salaries and benefits will not be impacted,” sources added.