Ukhrul rice scam figures prominently in House
Joy exposes MLAs' letter to CM to restrain Ukhrul DM from arresting contractor

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 09: MPP president and Opposition member O Joy today alleged that three MLAs of Ukhrul district wrote to the Chief Minister to restrain the Ukhrul DC who issued an arrest warrant against two transport contractors in connection with the Ukhrul rice scam.

Speaking to newsmen today after the morning session of the House, O Joy said the three MLAs of Ukhrul district wrote to the Chief Minister urging him to restrain the District Magistrate of Ukhrul and to stay the arrest warrant issued by the official against two transport contractors who are the chief suspects in the scam.

The MPP president further said that the Chief Minister also stood by the three MLAs and issued instructions to the DM to stay the arrest warrant against the contractors.

The letter submitted to the Chief Minister was dated June 6, 2002.The three MLAs who submitted the letter are; Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports A Aza (Chingai AC, Cong), Minister of State for Fishery and Government Press Wungnaoshang Keishing (Phungyar AC, Cong) and MLA Danny Shaiza (Ukhrul AC, BJP).

The letters which bore the signatures of the three MLAs said, "The undersigned take strong exception to the reported move of the DC Ukhrul in issuing arrest warrant against HS Dawner, Transport Contractor on charges filed by vested interest parries." The letter went on to say that the charges against the contractor are baseless and unjustified adding, "in the circumstance it is requested that stringent instruction is issued to the DC Ukhrul to drop all charges against Dawner and further all schemes under DRDA in respect of Ukhrul districts would be under the supervision of the elected members." Responding to the call of the three MLAs, the Chief Minister wrote, "the arrest warrant, if any, against Shri HS Dawner be stayed forthwith." The Chief Minister also said a thorough inquiry would be initiated into the whole matter, disclosed Joy.

The whole consignment of rice was meant to be distributed to the unemployed youths of the three Assembly Constituencies in Ukhrul district, that is, Phungyar, Chingai and Ukhrul under the SGRY scheme of DRDA.

Earlier while moving a call attention motion in the House today, O Joy said that 5,500 quintals of rice were transported from the FCS godown at Sangaiprou to the FCS godown at Somsai in Ukhrul.

The rice was then taken out from the Somsai godown by two transporter contractors and the whole consignment disappeared without a trace in the last week of May, said Joy quoting local newspaper reports.

The rice was lifted from the Somsai godown without the knowledge of the Deputy Commissioner said Joy adding that some quantity of the rice was found being sold in the local market.

In this connection six persons were arrested and released on bail, the MPP president further said.

He also alleged that the rice went into hands of the political workers.

That the rice never reached the beneficiaries came to light after a village headman and a senior political figure highlighted the matter to the authority concerned including the Chief Secretary, he said.

Following this the Ukhrul DC lodged a complaint with the Ukhrul police station after which three FIRs were registered.

All these show, without any doubt that the rice meant for the beneficiaries have fallen into the wrong hands, added Joy.

The MPP president further said that as legal notices served on the two transport contractors including one called Dawner a resident of Ukhrul's Viewland, evoked no response the District Magistrate issued an arrest warrant against the two contractors.

Responding to the call attention motion, the Chief Minister informed the House that a high level committee headed by Commissioner.

LP Golmei has been constituted to probe the matter and to submit its report within one month time.

The Chief Minister also assured that fitting punishment would be given to all those involved in the scam and the guilty would not be spared.

Not satisfied with the assurances of the Chief Minister, O Joy said that as it has been established that the rice did reach the beneficiaries, there is no point in constituting a high level committee and instead suggested that a House Committee be formed to investigate the matter.

Speaker TN Haokip intervened and said that the assurance of the CM was enough.

However that was not enough to pacify Joy who said he would approach the court.