TODAY -

Tale of two Fake certificates: One in Jail and One in Cabinet
- Part 1 -

Ratan Moirangthem *



It could happen only in Manipur – the land of all possibilities! There is nothing like impossible or illegal in the state if one has the right connection, deep pocket, political muscle and blessings of invincible power. There is 'institutionalization' of corrupt practices and complete meltdown of all forms of social, administrative, legal and political institutions.

The undercurrent is so deep and firmly rooted that most of the 'right thinking' people in the state have literally given-up the spirit of raising questions for a right cause. It is no wonder then common people find it no wrong to have a disqualified MLA with fake MBA degree certificate as Youth and Sports (YAS) and Tourism minister of Manipur. If this had happened in any other place in the country, just like Jitender Singh Tomar, Ex-Law Minister of Delhi, who landed in jail in a couple of weeks' time for fake certificates, the disqualified MLA, Mr. Prithviraj, would have been in jail long ago.

It is often said that for a democracy to function effectively, the three pillars – Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary – need harmonious correlation and yet complete independence in functioning. At the same time, in today's information age, Media (print and electronic) too plays as crucial a role as that of any of the three pillars in upholding the true values of democracy. Media, therefore, is now being referred to as the fourth pillar of democracy. In an 'ideal democratic set up,' each of these would have functioned completely independent of others; but in this cruel world of selfish opportunisms, there is always interference and overlapping of functional roles of one arm over the other.

Today, the sorry state of Manipur is perhaps a clear indication of the state being at the wrong end of the democratic continuum. The trend is, as a thumb rule, greater the deviation from the 'ideal democratic set up,' higher the degree of mis-governance and concentration of powers in the hands of a few powerful elites. There is none that the 'powerful elite' group couldn't do in Manipur and, barring a few exceptions, all democratic forces are invariably in paean with the powers that be. It's no surprise then, even after disqualification by Manipur High Court and stripping of all powers of an MLA by the Supreme Court of India, Mr. Prithviraj still flies around as a minister responsible for shaping the future of our youths and sports, and tourism industry of Manipur.

The bottom line

Sri M. Prithviraj Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sports (YAS) and Tourism has been elected twice from Moirang Assembly Constituency; first in the assembly by-election of 9th Manipur Assembly Election 2009, and again in the assembly election of 10th Manipur Assembly Elections 2012. In the 2012 election he had filed a sworn affidavit claiming to have passed MBA (Masters in Business Administration) from Mysore University in the year 2004.

Affidavit of M. Prithviraj showing educational qualification as MBA from Mysore University in the 10th Assembly election 2012
Affidavit of M. Prithviraj showing educational qualification as MBA from Mysore University in the 10th Assembly election 2012
Source: Affidavit 2012; CEO, Manipur



On the scrutiny day (12th January 2012) of 10th Manipur Assembly Election 2012, the MBA degree claim of Mr. Prithviraj was contested by his opponent. Mr. Prithviraj, however, couldn't produce material evidence/documents to support his MBA claim. He was given until the following day (13th January 2012) to prove his credentials by the Returning Officer (RO). Unfortunately, the RO surreptitiously accepted the defective nomination paper of Mr. Prithviraj without verification and justification.

An election petition was filed on 4th April 2012 to the Manipur High Court challenging the acceptance of false affidavit of M. Prithviraj. After years of subverting the system in one way or the other and living in denial, even going to the Supreme Court many times on flimsy grounds, the law of the land had caught-up and forced Mr. Prithviraj to admit in the Court. In his written statement to Manipur High Court on 3rd April 2014 he admitted that he had made false statement about his educational qualification in the affidavit.

Admission of filing of False Affidavit in 2012 Assembly Election by M. Prithviraj in his written reply submitted to the Manipur High Court 2014
Admission of filing of False Affidavit in 2012 Assembly Election by M. Prithviraj in his written reply submitted to the Manipur High Court 2014
Source: Written statement submitted to Manipur High Court by M. Prithviraj on 3rd April 2014. (p11,12)



At the same time, while admitting his fake MBA degree in his written reply to the honourable court, he once again submitted other false statements and tried to mislead the court. For instance, he claims that he is the grandson of former Chief Minister of Manipur, Late M. Koireng Singh and floated the bizarre justification that being the grandson of an Ex-Chief Minister, he couldn't have possibly lied intentionally.

Mr. Prithviraj’s claim of being a grandson of former Chief Minister, M. Koirang Singh in his response to Manipur High Court in 2014
Mr. Prithviraj’s claim of being a grandson of former Chief Minister, M. Koirang Singh in his response to Manipur High Court in 2014
Source: Written statement submitted to Manipur High Court by M. Prithviraj on 3rd April 2014. (p18)



The truth is Prithviraj is not the grandson of Late M. Koireng Singh, former Chief Minister of Manipur. Mr. Prithviraj is the grandson of Late M. Angangyaima Singh, father of Ex-MLA (L) M. Manindra Singh. Mr. Angangyaima was never a Chief Minister of Manipur. It is indeed perjury of the highest order.

Further investigation revealed that Mr. Prithviraj had also filed a false affidavit in his nomination paper of 2008 by-election of Moirang AC, though it went un-noticed. In his 2008 by-election affidavit he had written MBA, Mysore University, 2004 as his highest educational qualification. The new revelation completely disproves the argument of writing of MBA Mysore University in 2012 election as clerical mistake, and proves beyond reasonable doubt that he intentionally lied not once but on several instances.

Affidavit of M. Prithviraj showing educational qualification as MBA from Mysore University in the Assembly by-election 2009 of Moirang AC
Affidavit of M. Prithviraj showing educational qualification as MBA from Mysore University in the Assembly by-election 2009 of Moirang AC
Source: Affidavit 2008; CEO, Manipur



The nexus at work

The RO connection


It all began on the 12th of January 2012, the scrutiny day of 10th Manipur Assembly Elections 2012 for the 27th Moirang AC at Bishnupur DC Office. During the scrutiny hour Mr. P. Sharatchandra, the only opponent candidate, raised objection to the MBA degree claim (MBA from Mysore University) of Mr. Prithviraj in his nomination paper and requested the Returning Officer (RO), to produce/show all the certificates and testimonials mentioned in the affidavit. The RO directed Mr. Prithviraj Singh to furnish all supporting documents on the following day (13th of January 2012).

In such a contested situation, there could have been only two possible options: 1) furnish the required documents and RO accepts the nomination paper and 2) do not furnish the required documents and RO rejects the nomination paper. Did Mr. Prithviraj produce/submit the certificate of MBA degree from Mysore University on 13th January 2012 as directed by Returning Officer at the time of scrutiny? If he did submit a copy of MBA certificate, then the RO ought to have produced the certificate for verification.

If Mr. Prithviraj did not submit the MBA degree certificate from Mysore University, as per Section 36(2)(a) of the Representation of People Act, 1951, nomination paper of Mr. Prithviraj ought to have been rejected by the Returning Officer and declare Mr. P. Sharatchandra elected unopposed. But the RO, without taking cognizance of 'Fake Degree' claim and false affidavit, accepted the defective and invalid nomination paper of Mr. M. Prithviraj.

As we all suspected from the beginning, it turned out that Mr. Prithviraj indeed had no MBA degree from MYSORE University and he was never a student of MYSORE University, not to speak of a degree. The Registrar of Mysore University in his official letter vide No.Ex8.5/06/2011-12 confirmed that Mr. Prithviraj never studied in Mysore University and had no MBA degree from the University. Then, how did the RO accept Prithviraj's nomination paper? On what basis did the RO clear charges of filing false affidavit and accept Prithviraj's nomination paper? It was worse than a day time open robbery and raises serious question of impropriety and official misconduct of the RO.

Questioning the Unquestionable

It's still a mystery to a layman that why our judicial process is so cumbersome and lengthy, and how it always invariably ends up in favour of the wealthy and powerful elites. Of course, there were innumerable exceptions but the statistics were quite staggering. The fear of 'contempt' often stalks like a sword of Damocles and ensures even the loudest of mouths are kept quite. Unfortunately, there is no fear of 'contempt of justice' and no one dares mention about it in public either. In the process, the silent majority remain victim of its own justice system; the very system which was framed to protect their interest.

It took more than 38 adjournments/postponements and several visits to Supreme court on flimsy grounds in the first 2 (two) years, including several reprimands with fines, just to make Mr. Prithviraj submit his response to the writ petition challenging his nomination paper in the Manipur High Court on 3rd April 2014. Finally, after two years of beating around the bushes, Mr. Prithviraj admitted to the court that he submitted a false affidavit and he had no MBA degree from Mysore University. Then, it took another two years and a strong directive from the Supreme Court that the Election Petition is disposed off before the end of February 2016, the High Court of Manipur gave its verdict on 29th February 2016, the last day of the Supreme Court Dateline.

The inquisitiveness of human mind has let us evolved into today's human being. The day we stopped asking questions; that's the day we shall stop being a human being. The maximum delays, prolonged debates, innumerable excuses, never ending explanations, countless postponements, long rob to the defendant on every count, etc. – are these dots interconnected?

To a common man, what more proof is needed as the defendant himself admitted to his wrongdoings? It would however take a fertile imagination of a twisted mind to join the dotted imaginary line of quid pro quo. However, as the saying goes, 'there is nothing impossible in Manipur;' it would therefore be imprudent to exclude anything off the table as yet, how improbable it looks.

to be continued....


* Ratan Moirangthem wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be reached at kegemoirang2020(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on April 14, 2016.


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