Ex-Manipur CM Ibobi Singh Welcomes CBI Investigation, Cong Says Probe Politically Motivated by BJP Govt

Ex-Manipur CM Ibobi Singh Welcomes CBI Investigation, Cong Says Probe Politically Motivated by BJP Govt

Former Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, who was quizzed by the CBI over alleged financial irregularities in the Manipur Development Society (MDS) during his tenure as its chairman, said he held the post only for a year and did not have any power to authorise transactions.

Speaking to reporters after being quizzed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for nearly three hours at his residence at Babupara here, the Congress leader denied any wrongdoing.

Singh said he was the chairman of the MDS from July 2013 to August 2014, and "during that short tenure" he only chaired one annual general body meeting, denying reports that he held the post for seven-eight years.

He said he took up the post "after being requested by the then chief secretary".

"As per the rules of the MDS, there is no role of the chairman. Any type of transaction, sanction and signing of cheques are done by the project director. Hence, the chairman is not aware of it," Singh said.

"I didn't open any bank account in connection with MDS, never signed a single cheque," he said, adding that he was never a joint signatory as the chairman.

The three-time former chief minister along with four other former chairmen of the MDS is facing allegation of embezzling funds amounting to Rs 332 crore.

Singh said that he welcomes the investigation and is extending all cooperation.

"If anyone is found guilty, the court after due examination of the allegations and counter-allegations may give the necessary punishment," he said.

He said the CBI officials "politely" asked him about his family's finances.

The Congress alleged that the interrogation is "politically motivated" to save the BJP-led government in Manipur, which recently faced the rebellion of nine MLAs including four ministers of ally NPP.

"Unlikely to save an unpopular leadership. This (is) nothing but an effort to buy time for a sinking ship. People will lose their faith in the CBI," Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi had tweeted after the agency had summoned Ibobi Singh.

He said the CBI came calling at the former chief minister's residence just days after the Ibobi Singh-led SPF coalition met the governor and demanded a special session so that the "unstable and shaky" Biren Singh government can be "brought down".

"It is a totally politically motivated case," he said.

Gogoi said the Ibobi Singh government was till 2017 and no case was lodged since then.

"Surely, everybody can see this is politically motivated and attempt to threaten and intimidate, but, we will not be threatened and intimidated by this politically motivated steps," he added.