By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 26: Although it now two years since the State Government constituted a committee to probe into installation of CCTV cameras in and around Imphal city which went out of order soon after installation, the committee is unable to submit any report till date.
As there has been no positive response till date even after a representation was submitted to the Chief Minister to rope in CBI for a thorough investigation into the installation of non-functional CCTV cameras, a citizen has filed a PIL at the High Court of Manipur.
The PIL was filed by one Laishram Ibomcha of Wangkhei on May 23 and the High Court has listed the PIL for hearing tomorrow.
The PIL says that the Government is unable to establish the facts behind the procurement and installation of defective CCTV cameras because many high profile personalities, bureaucrats and officers are purportedly involved in the scam.
As such, State Police/Home Department would not be able to carry out any meaningful investigation and prosecute those involved in the crime, said the PIL.
It then pleaded the High Court to hand over the case to a reliable agency like CBI so that all the culprits are prosecuted and the public money they swindled is recovered.
A total amount of Rs 8,01,54,775 was sanctioned by the State Home Department under the State Plans of 2009-10 and 2010-11 for installation of CCTV cameras in and around Imphal city including the Raj Bhavan and the CM Bungalow areas.
But the CCTV cameras went out of order soon after they were installed which evoked multiple questions like whether the entire process of procuring and installing the CCTV cameras was a sham exercise aimed at swindling public money in cahoots with high profile personalities.
As the non-functional CCTV cameras became a big public issue, then Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Dr J Suresh Babu issued an order on March 31, 2017 whereby a three-member committee was constituted to investigate the issue.
The committee was headed by ADGP Pramod Ashthana as chairman. The other two members were RD&PR secretary Sumant Singh and IGP Clay Khongsai.
As per the terms and conditions of the enquiry, the committee should find out whether there was any lapse in the tender process and subsequent procurement and installation of the CCTV cameras, and identify all the persons responsible for the lapses, if there are any.
The order issued by the then Additional Chief Secretary (Home) directed the enquiry committee to submit its report within 15 days.
Not long after the incumbent Government led by N Biren was sworn in, it publicly vowed to eradicate corruption from the State.
It also constituted several committees to probe into installation of LED based traffic signals with solar power and battery backup at 12 points of Imphal city, purchase of web equipment and leather belts for Police Department, and purchase of digital radio sets and repeaters under police moderni- sation programme. These committees were constituted in accordance with separate orders issued by then Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Dr J Suresh Babu on April 1, June 9, June 19 and July 10 of 2017. However, most of these committees did not submit reports in time. There are still a few committees which are yet to submit any report till date. Given these facts, many quarters have been asking if high profile Government personalities are involved in these fraudulent dealings. Laishram Ibomcha submitted a representation to Chief Minister N Biren on March 6 this year to hand over the case of installation of defective CCTV cameras to CBI. As there has been no response till date, he filed a PIL at the High Court of Manipur, sources informed.