Okram Ibobi Singh

The Manipur High Court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to former Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in a money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate.

The Guwahati zonal office of the ED registered a case against the former CM on March 16, 2020, based on an FIR file by the state’s Vigilance and Anti-Corruption department in 2018.

A single bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar granted the bail stating that “the court does not find any grounds warranting custodial interrogation at this stage in relation to events that took place long ago,” Indian Express reported.

The court observed that the petitioner had been granted anticipatory bail in connection to the said FIR on August 26, 2019.

Documentary evidence, which would be the fulcrum of the case, having already been secured and given the passage of time since registration of the earlier case, there is no “manifest risk” of the petitioner tampering with evidence or witnesses at this late stage, the court noted.

The Court further stated that it finds no tangible reason to believe that the “petitioner would abscond or try to evade the law and, in any event, the same can be guarded against by imposing restrictions”.

The court, however, asked former CM Singh not to leave the country and co-operate with the investigation as and when required.

The ED had in 2020 registered the case against Singh for alleged embezzlement of government funds.

The FIR pertained to the award of certain works by Loktak Development Authority (LDA), of which Ibobi was the chairman then. It was alleged that works were awarded in violation of the prescribed norms resulting in financial loss to the government and the exchequer.

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