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Ampareen cites CBI report, snubs critics

Shillong, Nov. 13: Lashing out at her detractors, Meghalaya urban affairs minister Ampareen Lyngdoh today said she has been “exonerated” from the accusations levelled against her in the alleged irregularities in the appointment of assistant teachers in government lower primary schools.

Breaking her silence at a packed news conference here, the former education minister said, “At no point during the teachers’ selection process, I, as the then education minister, had issued unlawful orders to any official working in the department. I am, therefore, indebted to the CBI for its inquiry and bringing on record all the anomalies in the selection process.”

The statement came in the light of the accusations levelled by J.D. Sangma, then director of the directorate of mass and elementary education.

In the 107-page report, the CBI had mentioned, “In the course of his examination, J.D. Sangma had stated that under the instruction of the then education minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, he had to change the score sheet as prepared by all the five boards duly applying white fluid on the original marks as awarded by the members of the board.”

Ampareen said, “The CBI report never made any mention about any recommendation by the minister concerned about favouring any candidate for selection. Nowhere in the report was it alleged that the minister, directly or indirectly, influenced the officials of the department either to tamper, manipulate or modify the list of the selected candidates, except in the uncorroborated statement of J.D. Sangma.”

“If an uncorroborated statement of an official is the basis for all the allegations levelled against me, then no politician would ever be able to function in our democratic polity. No minister would like to be at the mercy of an official who gives statements according to his whims and fancies.”

At the same time, she said, “The conspiracy behind this entire drama by my detractors is evident to any prudent mind from the fact that select portions of the statement of an officer was delivered to the media. Other contents and the clear conclusions reported by the CBI were suppressed from the media, and why this happened is a million dollar question.”

On the demand for her resignation, she said, “This demand by vested interests remains questionable, especially against the backdrop of available facts on the case by a credible authority like the CBI.”

However, when asked whether CBI officials, during the course of their inquiry, had sought for her statements, Ampareen said, “I was never asked any questions, and there must be solid reasons behind it. I was never spoken to. I did not know when they came or when they left.”

She also said, “The high court and the CBI report did not give any credibility to the statement of J.D. Sangma and I have been exonerated from these accusations.”

The minister also said J.D. Sangma had sent her a text message supposedly saying, “Please forgive me, I am like your family.”

Further, Ampareen said she had not been informed about the developments of the case after she had relinquished from the post of education minister. She was the education minister from May 2009 to June 2011.

Likening her situation with that of Adlai E. Stevenson, the US’s 23rd vice-president, who had thundered at his political detractors, Ampareen quoted him by saying, “Stop lying about me and I will stop telling the truth about you.”

“Cheap political propaganda may give some a temporary victory, but the truth defeats falsehood and the final victory is for those who never leave the righteous path. This attempt was a tricky ploy to distract the attention of the seriousness of this case by blaming the political leadership. But if we want the truth to surface, we must inquire to find out where and when the things went wrong. I repose my full faith and confidence in the judicial system and I am confident that both the judicial and governmental machinery are competent mechanisms to uncover the truth,” she said.

“Everyone will have a say. Every dog has its day. Let my turn come, and I will seek justice at the right time,” Ampareen added.