IMPHAL, 27 July: When the Manipur Government decided to establish the Manipur Public School(MPS) in 1979 it was with a view to provide quality education to the students of Manipur who will be in a position to compete with children passing out from public schools elsewhere in the country. It was accorded top priority and the Governor of Manipur was made the Chairman of the Manipur Public School Society with the State Government’s Education Commissioner/Secretary serving as the Member Secretary of the Society.Although it began functioning from the campus of the Kendriya Vidayalaya in Lamphelpat, it moved three years hence to Koirengei where the old airfield of World War II vintage is located. Over time, the school got affiliated to the Central Board of Seondary Education,New Delhi and as such, began to be bound by the bye-laws and all-India norms of running CBSE affiliated schools. These included amongst others a total ban on recruitment and appointment of superannuated persons as Principals of the schools.
The Governor of the State chairing the Society changed when Shri Okram Ibobi Singh became the Chairman of the MPS Society in 2002 co-inciding with his first tenure as the Chief Minister of the state.
Details have now emerged that the functioning of the school are far from keeping to the rules. When the State Environment and Ecology Department decided to give a grant-in-aid of Rupees One Lakh for developing an Eco-park within the school campus in 2008, Santo Kumar Sharma was the in-charge principal of the school in the said period pocketed the money for his personal use and submitted Actual Payment Receipts signed by himself and forged documents to that effect besides stating that payments were made in cash instead through cheques as per school norms.
On 17-9-2008, the then Secretary Education of the State and Secretary of the MPS Society Sambhu Singh who is now the Jt.Secretary North East in the Ministry of Home Affairs wrote to the State Vigilance Commission complaining about B.Santo Kumar Sharma relating to the misuse of the Rupees One Lakh grant menat for developing the Eco-park. It took about two years for the State Vigilance Commission to finish its probe and on 24th May 2010, the Director of Vigilance vide his letter No.17/SP-V/2008 submitted its finding to the Commissioner of Education (Schools) Govt.of Manipur recommending ‘Major Penalty’ to B.Santo Kumar Sharma and his Accounts Officer Shantikumar Ray and recovery of Rs.1,00,000 from him and Rs.71,154 from Ray.
Santo Kumar Sharma was suspended in 2008 itself but got re-instated upon directives from the Gauhati High Court in 2011.Then on 31-12-2012 he retired from service having reached the age of superannuation, while serving then as Vice-principal of the School. The Orders were signed by the current Principal Secretary of Education(Schools) and Secretary of the MPS Society.
But on the same day that Santo Kumar Sharma’s retirement orders were signed another order was made to be signed by the same Principal Secretary, Education (Schools) appointing him as the full fledged Principal of the School albeit engaged for six months on contract basis.