TODAY -

Tale of two Fake certificates: One in Jail and One in Cabinet
- Part 2 -

Ratan Moirangthem *



Defending the indefensible

It goes beyond words how artificial information check-dams are being created by officials at every level to stall proceedings and give favours to powerful political elite. Crux of the problem perhaps lies with concentration of powers in the hand of a few individuals; for instance, nothing moves in a constituency (be it transfer or development work or public distribution) without prior approval of the concerned MLA. The Officials whose very existence or promotions depend on local MLAs are highly unlikely to raise any issue that may have adverse implications on local MLAs'. Those officials who dare to raise their voice to follow proper rule of law/procedure are immediately shunted out.

To expedite the Fake Certificate case of M. Prithviraj Singh, a criminal case was filed at a civil court of Bishnupur District in March 2015. In a strange twist of events, after a long delay, the honourable Judge recused herself from the case citing warm personnel equation with the defendant. It was then reassigned to another court and, in the process, made to waste a considerable period of time, again. Fortunately, the new upright, no-nonsense Judge took up the case in his court and initial hearings were completed after a prolonged delay.

What followed after the hearing was more intriguing - the new upright Judge was abruptly removed from his posting and shifted to another court, just a few days before pronouncement of the verdict. It was like, 'if you can't circumvent the system, remove the system completely'. Well, it could have been just a routine transfer but the strange coincidence was hard to miss. Many well wishers of the Honourable Judge recall how upright he was and how he stood for justice, irrespective of clan, caste, and class. It could perhaps explain why he was abruptly removed from his posting. The vacancy is yet to be filled and the criminal case is gone for a toast.

The Chief Election Commission of India (vide Letter No. 76/MR-LA/27/2012/1011, dated 10th April 2013) instructed the State Election Commission to initiate action to prosecute Shri M. Prithviraj Singh. The State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), in his letter vide No. 4/ELEC-101/SAE/EXP/2012/629, dated 18th April 2013, directed the concerned Returning Officer (RO)/SDO of Moirang to immediately start prosecution procedures against the accused. It was in the beginning of 2013 and nothing has moved ever since. Several enquiries, request letters and many RTIs have not moved the office of SDO, Moirang. Many SDOs have come and gone, but no action has been taken up yet.

The eerie silence

Something is terribly missing in this unfolding fiasco of false affidavit hardly there is any in-depth analysis or substantive coverage by local media (both print and electronic), except for occasional reports. One might argue that it is not a 'newsworthy' issue, but given the massive manipulation of the systems and corruption at high places involved, it is indeed worthy of a serious introspection.

Imagine a situation where the cheats, crooks, or history-sheeters were to shape the future of our society or were to decide for our children's destiny and we were to cheer them for their deed; then it would be fair to say we all live in a failed society and we are equally responsible for its failure.

Amidst the ruins in Manipur, it is often said that the only bright spot is its sportspersons and rich cultural heritage. Our beloved sportspersons have not only brought name and fame to the state but also brought many laurels for the country. What a shame that such an important portfolio (Youth and Sports) dealing with future destiny of state's youth is being handled by a man who should have been in jail a long time ago! Even more shocking is the long eerie silence of the media and right thinking individuals/groups it seems we have long lost our voice of inner conscience. Why none has raised a question on the moral and ethical issue of a lawmaker who has been disqualified by the High Court for lying under oath and submitting fake certificates/false affidavits, not once but on several instances?

Today, we are in a quick-sand on one hand the system has failed miserably and on the other there is none to bring out the truth (failures) in public. It is indeed the responsibility of media to communicate the pros and cons of policies, the achievements and failures of government, the truth and reality of issues, etc. so that common people can make informed decisions.

It appears that we seem to have fallen far behind other states in such issues. Of course, there would be compulsions and plenty of intimidations and the day we were able to overcome these threats and report independently, we would have made the first step towards true democracy. We all remember the threat received by certain local newspapers for publishing a detail report on false affidavit and fake certificate case not long ago.

There have been regular coverage over the false affidavit and related matters in all leading local newspapers and TV channels, but none has followed it up with real intent to unravel the truths. It's no longer a question of mere allegation anymore; Mr. Prithviraj has already been disqualified by the Manipur High Court on false affidavit case. So far none has even raised a question to the Chief Minister or to the ruling party on why and how a disqualified MLA is being continued as a minister (parliamentary secretary of YAS and Tourism). Does he have the moral authority to continue as YAS minister? Why is the CM Ibobi silent for so long? People of the state deserve an explanation.

The larger question though is: what message are we sending to common people and to our children? Are we suggesting that it's all right to lie under oath and submit a fake certificate and there is no harm even if a cheat becomes one of our lawmakers (ministers)? Today, we have a classic case of subverting the system at every level and yet the culprit having the sunshine of his life. If we allowed such naked misuse of power and subversion of institutional systems to continue, we have no moral and ethical right to teach our children about honesty and hard-work. We, as a society, have become so despondent and indifferent that we happily accept the wrongdoings and misuse of power as part of our inherent system.

The collapsed of institutional mechanisms and un-constitutional excesses of high and mighty resulted to complete loss of faith in the system. The loss of faith in institutions by common people is a far greater threat than any other threat that we have faced so far. To arrest such degeneration of our society and to make corrective steps, we must ensure that strong and firm action is taken against those powerful elites who commit crimes with impunity. Mr. Prithviraj must first resign as a minister for his Fake MBA certificate and face the law of the land. At this crucial juncture, the role of media has become the more important. It is through media that we could reach out to common people and send out a strong message that no one, no one is above the law of the land.

Tale of two FAKE certificates: Jitendar S. Tomar and M. Prithviraj

Mr. Jitendar Tomar, Ex-Law Minister of Delhi, was arrested on June 9. Tomar has been facing charges that academic certificates he submitted while filing nomination for assembly polls held in February 2015 were fake. An FIR was registered against Tomar on June 8 2015 and he was booked for alleged offences of cheating, forgery, using forged documents as genuine, forgery with intent to cheat and criminal conspiracy. A few hours after his arrest, he resigned as Law Minister from AAP government in Delhi. He is currently languishing in Tihar Jail, New Delhi.

Mr. Prithviraj filed a false affidavit in his nomination paper of 2012 Assembly election. Objection was raised by his opponent on his fake MBA degree, but the RO surreptitiously accepted the defective nomination paper. This resulted to filing of an election petition in April 2012, and after two years Mr. Prithviraj admitted that he had NO MBA degree. After almost four years, the High Court of Manipur disqualified him on 29th February 2016. But, Mr. Prithviraj still flies around as Parliamentary Secretary YAS and Tourism without any remorse.

The difference in follow-up action between Tomar and Prithviraj couldn't have been more starker on the one hand Mr. Tomar who is under police investigation has been put behind bar and has resigned as Law Minister of Delhi; and on the other, Mr. Prithviraj who has been disqualified by Manipur High Court is continuing as Parliamentary Secretary for Youths and Sports, and Tourism.

It has been more than 4 years since Mysore University officially confirmed that Mr. Prithviraj never had an MBA degree from the University and he was never a student of the University, but there is not a single substantive action against him on the ground. Whereas it took less than a month for Jitender Tomar to move from the comforts of Law Minister of Delhi Government to a cell in Tihar jail in Delhi.

The day concerned University declared that Mr. Tomar was never a student of the University, he got arrested and he was put behind bar even though his court trial was still going on at Delhi High Court. He was immediately removed from the Kejriwal Ministry. What has Ibobi Government been doing and why are they shielding a serial cheater?

Comparison of fake Certificate cases of Jitendar Tomar and M. Prithviraj

Comparison of fake Certificate cases of Jitendar Tomar and M. Prithviraj



What is worse is the blatant misuse of power the Returning Officer knew Mr. Prithviraj had no MBA degree at the time of scrutiny and yet he was coerced to declare that Mr. Prithviraj had a genuine MBA degree from Mysore University. It was a day time robbery. Just like Mr. Tomar tried hard to cover his fake certificate trail by producing another fake RTI response to prove his innocence, Mr. Prithviraj has not left any stone unturned to cover his fake MBA degree trail.

He cleared the first hurdle of scrutiny in connivance with the then RO, and then shielded himself behind the lengthy judicial procedure of the land. To prevent fake degree matter to come out in public, he used inducement, threat and intimidation and even transferred a judge before giving his verdict. He has stone-walled every information sought through RTI by posting handpicked officials, and transferred any officer who had different views. The list is endless.

To add more insult, instead of taking action against Mr. Prithviraj, he has been elevated to the post of Parliamentary Secretary Youths and Sports, and Tourism by Ibobi Government. It seems we have completely lost our inner conscience and failed to distinguish what is moral and what is immoral, and what is ethical and what is un-ethical.

If the lawmakers themselves are the lawbreakers, is there anything left for common people to complain about? It is no longer a question of being an MBA or not, but a question of what is moral and ethical in public life for those who are in power. It's high time for all of us to wake-up and call a spade a spade what is morally wrong and illegal in Delhi must be morally wrong and illegal in Manipur too! Time for serial CHEAT like M. Prithviraj to go.

Concluded...


* 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 21, 2016.


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