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Paper belt scam: Govt fails to prove charges, shuts cases against IPS officer F Gonglin

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The upright officer has finally been appointed to the post of DIG retrospectively with effect from January 1, 2019. Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms (Personnel Division) has issued an order in this regard

TFM Report

After being hounded and humiliated for nearly four years, IPS officer Faumei Gonglin, who was falsely implicated in infamous paper belt scam and missing arms case, as one of the scapegoats, has finally been appointed to the post of DIG retrospectively with effect from January 1, 2019.

According to sources, Faumei Gonglin is an upright officer. He has been allegedly indicted in false cases to malign his image after he rubbed the ruling establishment the wrong way.

The Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms (Personnel Division) has issued an order in this regard. As per the order dated July 19, 2021 issued by Under Secretary (DP) Zorisang Thiek Pangote, Faumei Gonglin, IPS (MA: 2004) was appointed to the post of IPS Selection Grade Sr Scale in Level 13 of the Pay Matrix [Rs. 118500- . 214100] notionally w.e.f. 01.01.2017 and actual cash payment retrospectively w.e.f. 01.01.2018; and again to the post of IPS DIGP Super Time Scale in Level 13A of the Pay Matrix [Rs. 131100 -216600] retrospectively w.e.f. 01.01.2019.

The promotion order follows closure reports of two departmental enquiries into paper belt and missing arms scandals against the IPS officer.

Two separate orders were issued by Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms (Personnel Division) on April 29, 2021 in connection with closure of the departmental enquiries into alleged irregularities in procurement of leather belt (black) and the loss of arms and ammunitions from PHQ Arms kote at 2nd MR Bn.

As per the first order, the departmental enquiry in connection with alleged irregularities in procurement of leather belt (black) was on October 30, 2017 and the inquiring authority had on August 29, 2019 submitted its report stating that the charges levelled against the officer could not be proved.

In connection with departmental enquiry initiated against Faumei Gonglin on April 25, 2018, Commissioner (DE) had on June 20, 2020 intimated that enquiry will not be possible beyond the preliminary hearing in the absence of original copies of the listed documents in the Article of charges framed against Faumei Gonglin, IPS, said the second order.

The departmental enquiries were closed after Central Administrative Tribunal, Guwahati Bench’s order dated November 20, 2020 has directed the Disciplinary Authority/Respondents to conclude the Departmental Proceedings initiated against Faumei Gonglin within three months in alleged missing of arms and ammunition and within two months in paper belt scam.

What is the paper belt scam?

In June 2017, some people posted on social media alleging sub-standard belts being issued to police personnel. Acting on the information, chief minister N Biren collected a large number of belts supplied to Manipur Police personnel and produced them before media persons. He demonstrated that the belt can be easily torn by bare hand. Disappointed with the quality, he ordered a probe.

An enquiry panel headed by Additional Chief Secretary Suhel Akhtar, and Special Secretary R Sudhan, IGP (Admn) Dr S Ibocha as members was constituted. The enquiry committee submitted its report to the Chief Minister on August 18, 2017. As per the report, the police department had procured a total of 20,000 leather belts from M/s Abdul Gani, the supplier, in 2014. The report named three officers who had inspected the belt quality. Subsequently, two senior police officers Faumei Gonglin and M Kumarjit were put under suspension and retired Inspector General S Manglemjao’s pension was withheld.

However, per stock register of the storeroom of the 1st MR, another supply of belts with crests was made on May 16, 2016. M/s Abdul Gani had supplied 15,000 belts to the police department. It was alleged that the supply of belts in 2016 was concealed by the inquiry committee to protect the real culprits who inspected the belts in 2016 and falsely implicated three innocent officers.

Missing arms case

A total of 56 pistols and 58 magazines had gone missing from the director general of police’s pool armoury, located inside the premises of the Second Manipur Rifles Battalion in Imphal. The weapons are believed to have gone missing between 2016 and early 2017. The loss of arms and ammunition came to light in March 2018 when the new commandant of the battalion P Manjit took over and examined arms and ammunition holding the unit and the police headquarters pool.

Four police officers, including IPS officer Faumei Gonglin, were suspended in connection with the case. However, it was alleged that IPS officer Faumei Gonglin was not anyhow connected with the incident as was transferred from 2nd bn of MR on November 28, 2016. Accordingly he had handed over the charge of Commandant of the 2nd Battalion and thereafter, a second incumbent came into the power of Commandant of 2nd battalion. Besides he was in any way not responsible in regards to the missing arms and ammunition at DGP Pool as DGP Pool Unit and Commandant are different units, said sources.

Blatant abuse of power

Faumei Pouchun, the elder brother of Faumei Gonglin has alleged that there has been “blatant abuse of power, violation of principles and illegal denial” of promotion to the IPS officer.

In a letter dated May 13, 2020 addressed to the Governor of Manipur, Faumei Pouchun stated that two Departmental Enquiries (DEs) in 2017 and 2018 were initiated against Gonglin. The enquiry authority submitted closure report for the first DE after conclusion of hearing and returned the second DE order without holding DE stating that it is not a fit case for holding DE in 2019, he added.

Despite this fact, “illegal blocking” of promotion continued even as the government issued notice on promotion of IPS officers of 2006 and 2007 batches to DIG and senior scale on May 7, 2020, he said.

The letter mentioned that it was technically not permissible for the government to keep DE for years without doing anything against all India services members. His brother’s promotion related recommendation is kept in seal cover because of DE, Pouchun claimed.

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