Imphal, (Samajweekly) The opposition Congress on Wednesday termed the CBI’s quizzing of former Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in connection with the Rs 332 crore misappropriation case as a case of the probe agency being misused by the ruling BJP to delay the formation of a new SPF government in Manipur, calling it a political vendetta.
Claiming that the Opposition has enough strength to form the Congress-led Secular Progressive Front (SPF) government in Manipur, Congress spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei said that instead of the BJP-led NDA government sending the CBI to take Ibobi’s statement, the Centre should have asked the state Governor to convene a special Assembly session for a floor test.
“After the withdrawal of support by nine legislators, including three BJP and four NPP MLAs, the BJP government in Manipur becomes minority. The Chief Minister N. Biren Singh-led coalition government must prove its majority. In democracy, the floor test is a must,” Meitei said.
“Former CM of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh has not taken a single penny from the alleged amount mentioned by the CBI. It is an attempt of political silencing. The Manipur High Court has already granted an absolute bail to Ibobi Singh in this matter in February. Hence, there is no question of legally detaining or keeping him in any legalised custody,” he added.
Amid political crisis in Manipur, a team of the Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday questioned Ibobi Singh in Imphal and also summoned O. Naba Kishore Singh, a former Chairman of the Manipur Development Society (MDS).
During the questioning, the CBI team asked the former Chief Minister about amassing huge wealth between 2009 and 2017, when he was the MDS Chairman.
Along with the four-member NPP (National People’s Party), Trinamool Congress (TMC), which has one MLA, and an Independent candidate withdrew their support from the N. Biren Singh-led coalition government, while three BJP MLAs joined the Congress on June 17.
To deal with the situation, Meghalaya Chief Minister and NPP national President Conrad K. Sangma, Assam Minister and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma, state BJP, NPP and other leaders held a series of meetings in Imphal before the four NPP lawmakers were sent to Delhi to hold meetings with Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP’s National President J.P. Nadda and other central leaders.
While the key opposition Congress claimed that the BJP-led government in Manipur had lost its majority, the BJP claimed that the issue had been settled with the victory of its candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls.