IMPHAL: The All Tribal Rights Protection Forum Manipur (ATRPFM), while appreciating the government for taking action and suspending two officers of Tribal Affairs and Hills department, it stated that as per allegations, there are more involved and will highly oppose any discrimination and favouratism in action being taken against them.
It has come to our knowledge that the two officers, i.e. Joint director and the deputy director of Tribal Affairs and Hills department has been suspended from their respective posts with allegations of misappropriation of funds. ATRPFM has no issue with the action of the state government. In fact, we acknowledge and appreciated the step taken by the state government in the matter. However, discrimination and favoritism in taking action is highly opposed. It was not only these two officers that are accountable if the allegations are found to be true. There are some other officers too in the department, it said in a press statement.
For example, as per the reliable source, the present DDO of the Department is also has allegedly misappropriated Rs. 42, 10, 000 without proper authorization. But action has been taken only against the two officers which is not fair as far as our best knowledge is concerned, the ATRPFM said. The forum also stated the misappropriation and misused of funds in respect of TA and Hills were already brought before the comptroller and Auditor General of India for the year 2006.
Thereafter, the matter was observed and examined by Public Account under the Chairmanship of O. Joy Singh, which was tabled before the floor house of the 9th Manipur State Legislative Assembly on March 12, 2008 as Thirtieth report. And for the year ended on March 31, 2012, the matter was again brought before the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Further, during the Chairmanship of Dr. Ibohalbi Singh, the Public Account Committee (PAC) has also observed and examined the matter and tabled on the floor of the house on July 24, 2014 as Fortieth report in 10th Manipur State Legislative Assembly, the ATRPFM stated.
The Public Account Committee (PAC) and the Welfare of SC and ST Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly are the two statutory committees which have the right to observe the matter. However, the state government without knowing the functions of the committee has handed over the matter to the house committee which has been constituted recently and taken up the matter afresh that led to the suspension of two officers and shown leniency towards other officers which is not fair. This will create lapses in the functioning of the statutory committees and the secrecy and confidential matters as per service rules are opened up just for promotional goals of a mere officer. The utilization, misappropriation and misused of funds of the department is said to be audited by A.G. of India from to time to time and reflected in audit report of the year.
The service of present DDO was regularized only in the year of 2013 December without drawing salary due to non-submission of required documents. He has no MGEL/CPIS and hence, the treasury objected him from drawing salary. He can be considered as non-employee of the government. It is, therefore, allotment of DDO to him is illegal.
The Misappropriation and misused of funds occurred in every department. Hence, law should be operated equally to all officers of all departments. TA and Hills is for tribal communities and by conventional practice the DDO and Directors were all from tribal officers but now as one tribal officer has been suspended, non-tribal will hold DDO post as well as other key posts will be hold by non-tribals which is a great apprehension for tribal people in proper functioning of the Department and having apprehension that an employee who has not even getting salary holds the key post of DDO in the department may leads to corruption in the future as well as considering that the government is encouraging the corruption. We therefore, appeal the state government to reconsider and take action against all officers of all Department or set aside the suspension of these two officers in public interest, the ATRPFM concluded.