New Delhi, Jan. 19: A CBI probe into the antecedents of Congress MP Mani Kumar Subba was initiated way back in 1997 after the then Assam chief minister wrote to the Prime Minister expressing doubts over his citizenship.
On December 23, 1997, the home ministry forwarded the documents sent by the chief minister to the CBI and sought a report on the matter “at the earliest”.
The CBI, which submitted its report on June 7, 2000, however, did not give any definite conclusion.
The home ministry, in a letter on June 24, 2000, noted that the report was not satisfactory as the Nepal government had confirmed that “Mani Raj Limboo alias Mani Kumar Subba was a resident of village Somangkhu ward No 8, Sangsabu, Tamarkhola Area Gram Panchayat, District Taplejung, Eastern Nepal”.
The ministry, therefore, asked the CBI to carry out an in-depth investigation to arrive at “acceptable and objective conclusions”.
The CBI wrote back in December 2001 stating that an in-depth inquiry had already been carried out and there was no need to take any further action.
After the matter resurfaced with the filing of a PIL in the Supreme Court in 2005, the CBI, on the basis of its earlier investigation, wrote to the home ministry that Subba’s name was not found on the electoral rolls of Assam for 1979 but it existed in 1985, 1993 and 1997.
However, no document regarding his citizenship could be collected and the earliest record of purchase of land in Lakhimpur district was 1978-79.
One of his wives claimed to have visited his native place in Nepal and said that he was known as Mani Raj Limboo but she could not provide any documentary evidence, the CBI said.
The agency said that a vigilance inquiry in Sikkim in 1985 had revealed that he was a Nepali citizen but as copies of the report were not available, “no final view’’ could be taken in this regard.
Efforts to obtain the fingerprint of Subba from Nepal were being made but so far there had been no success. The last formal effort, however, was probably made in April 2001.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that he would not speak on the merits of the case because he was involved in it.
Off the record, sources said the Congress had decided to distance itself from Subba and allow the matter to proceed legally. However, no one admitted that he was an “embarrassment’’ or a ‘’liability’’.
Sources said though Subba was mired in one controversy or the other for the last several years, he could win elections.
The Assam unit of the BJP demanded the resignation of chief minister Tarun Gogoi for trying to “conceal the Nepali citizenship” of Subba.