Imphal: In a stunning revelation, the Observer Committee of the Manipur People’s Party (MPP) has furnished the report on misuse of the party’s funds as election expenditure during the 17th Lok Sabha Election in 2019. The Working Committee of Manipur’s oldest regional party passed a resolution on January 3 last year for setting up the committee to enquire about financial mishandlings by providing it with a term of reference.
Pointing out that only the Central Committee of MPP is its living authority, Observer Committee Member Khongbantabam Sharat said that article 27 of the party’s constitution delegates certain powers to the Central Committee Members for appointing new office bearers in the absence of the president or office bearers since the Election Commission of India has made it categorical on July 6 last year that there’s no authorized office bearer of the now unrecognized political party.
Responding to the letter received from ECI on March 19 signed by its Under Secretary Manish Kumar, which was widely shared in various publications duly recognizing L Krishnadas as the interim president and three others including H Gitajen Meitei as General Secretary (administration) with their tenure valid from February 11, 2020 to February 10, 2023, he claimed that ECI doesn’t have the right to interfere in the internal dispute of an unrecognised political party since 2012 MPP has become such a party after it failed to send a single elected MLA . He cited the letter received from KN Bhar, senior principal secretary of ECI on February 4 earlier this year in response to his RTI application while terming the appointment of L Krishnadas and the three others as null and void.
Sharatchandra informed that the Central Committee in exercise of its power conferred by the party constitution formed the neutral body of Central Committee members on August 19 last year.
He said the committee was presenting its observations as the rift between former party president O Jugindro who represented MPP in the last Lok Sabha polls and others of the seven-member finance management committee of the said election following the indication of misuse of funds as poll expenditure could dent the image of the party before the public.
“The time is ripe for the Observer Committee to make public its observation by providing a backgrounder as to how three splintered groups led by former MPP president O Jugindro, L Krishnadas and L Apabi developed with all self-claiming to be the authorized leaders of the party,” the Observer Committee Member said.
“The committee after conducting spot verification and seeking reports from all officials of the MPP received a uniformed response that they have no knowledge of the amount of Rs 71, 90,000 borrowed by the Finance Management Committee of the party from others as poll expenditure during the 17th Lok Sabha polls. They only came to know about this amount after the officer bearers of the committee presented their account statements during the office bearers meeting that a poll expenditure of Rs 1, 00, 11,313 was incurred,” Sharatchandra added.
In a press release, S Brojen Singh, the Observer Committee Chairman, stated that barring former MPP president O Jugindro who chaired the finance management committee and Abdur Rahman Makakcha, the committee treasurer, none of the other five members assisted the observer committee.
In a joint statement submitted on March 3, 2020, the duo absolved them from the loan amount of Rs 71, 90,000 borrowed by the Finance Management Committee and claimed no knowledge of such an amount, it said.
However, they were aware of the amount of Rs 1, 00, 11,313 mentioned in the term of reference as it was collected by the office assistant by providing a receipt, Brojen stated, adding that they were also aware of the amount of Rs 54, 90,000 sanctioned for loan repayment to Finance Committee Convenor H Gitajen Meitei, also the then General Secretary (administration) of MPP with the knowledge of the competent authority.
Sharatchandra stressed that the Observer Committee has all the proof and evidence and entrusted the responsibility to O Jugindro for the financial mishandling as he claimed no knowledge about the money borrowed but gave his approval while repaying the money borrowed.
However, he said, the Observer Committee would leave the job of punishing the former president to the Central Committee. In its final report, the committee also holds all the other finance committee members namely L Krishnadas, who now claims to be the MPP president, Y Bhim, M Amutombi and S Ibotombi as responsible for financial misuse and violating the rules and regulations of the party.