TODAY -

Bid to reinstate suspended officials come to light 'Influence' rocks Board meet
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 02 2011: Without conducting any departmental inquiry, attempts are allegedly being made to reinstate some officers who have been placed under suspension in connection with financial bungling over the implementation of a project under School Education Department with MANITRON as the implementing agency.

According to a highly placed source, along with signing of an MoU, MANITRON had been entrusted with the task of supplying and installing audio-visual equipments, computer sets, power generating sets and internet connectivity in 15 High Schools and Higher Secondary Schools under the School Education Department.

It was a project taken up with funding from Additional Central Assistance (ACA) during fiscal year, 2004-05 and the total estimated cost of the project was Rs 1,97,20,275 .

However, following complaint over financial mismanagement in the implementation of the project, the then General Manager of MANITRON Th Santoshchandra Luwang and Technical Assistant Ng Joykumar were placed under suspension.

Subsequently, a meeting of the Board of Directors of MANITRON presided over by its Chairman was held in December last year.

In the said meeting, the agenda for revokig the suspension order of the two officers was tabled for discussion.

During the discussion of the agenda, one very influential Board member exerted strong pressure that the suspension order should be revoked and the period of their suspension should be taken as duty period since the two officers have remained under suspension for more than three years and no departmental inquiry have been initiated against them.

But no definite resolution in this regard could be arrived at as other Board members raised objection and did not append their signatures.

As the influential Board member was opposed to discussion of any other agenda without a resolution on revocation of the suspension order of the two officers, the meeting of the Board of Directors, which is supposed to be convened after every three months in accordance to the Company Act too has remained pending.

The conduct of departmental inquiry against the two suspended officers has been delayed on account of the fact that all the existing officers in MANITRON are either of equal rank or below the said two suspended officers.

Consequently, the State Government took a decision and appointed an IAS officer for conducting the departmental inquiry.

But the appointment too had to be subsequently without on the ground that the inquiry officer has been appointed even before preparation of the statement of articles of charges against the two suspended officers.

With the Information Technology Department taking serious note over the failure of conducting the requisite quarterly meeting, a meeting of the board of directors of MANITRON was finally convened on August 3 last.

But nothing came out it.

The project was to cover 15 high schools and higher secondary schools, namely Johnstone Higher Secondary School, TG Higher Secondary School, Lilong Higher Secondary School, Ibotonsana Higher Secondary School, CC Higher Secondary School, Jiribam Higher Secondary School, Chaoyaima Higher Secondary School, Kakching Higher Secondary School, Ukhrul Higher Secondary School, Pumkhothang High School, Maram High School, Machi High School and Nungba High School, and on Kolkata-based firm, M/S Data Infosys was to supply the required equipments.

However, contrary to the what had been agreed in the MoU, MANITRON supplied the electronics/computer items to Ibotonsana Higher Secondary School, TG Higher Secondary School, CC Higher Secondary School, Chaoyaima Higher Secondary School and Bishnupur higher Secondary School.

In its investigation report of the case, the State Vigilance Commission has pointed out that MANITRON prepared a voucher for Rs 53 lakhs against installation works, which is far from the actual cost, and submitted the same to the School Education Department.

Moreover, rate quotation of Rs 15 lakh for Sony Video System (Home theatre) had been included in the voucher.

Further investigation also led to the revelation that MANITRON had given only Rs 1,12,39,275 to the Kolkata-based M/S Data Infosys for supplying the required electronic items for the project.

So, the firm had supplied only 29 HP computer sets as against the order placed for supplying 75 sets of HP computers and the remaining 45 computer sets have been replaced by ACER computers, supposed to be utilised for works in connection with 11th Finance Commission.

Moreover, to the supply order placed for 15 Kilonsker generator sets, the firm had provided some very cheap generator sets and no supply had been provided at all to the requirement for 75 computer tables and chairs each.

To the supply order for 15 projector cameras of Toshiba company, the firm had provided cheaper projector cameras of some nondescript company.

For 15 Sony Home Video Systems, the firm had supplied Sony Wega 21 cm TVs as against the supply order made for 157 cm.

Apart from finding out that pirated disk of Window 2003 and MS Office XP have been used in installation of computer sets in the five Higher Secondary Schools, the Vigilance has worked out the total estimated cost of the electronic items supplied by the Kolkata based M/S Data Infosys at Rs 34,08,408 only.

The State Vigilance Commission is said to have recommended registration of an FIR case against the officials of MANITRON and proprietor of M/S Data Infosys Ranjan Dutta for the fraud.


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