While the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) demands to handover the Pallel drug haul case involving five Manipur Police commando personnel, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on January 20 countered that as many as 10 FIRs are lodged against 28 police personnel in connection with the NDPS Act during the Congress regime (2012-2016) and told the Congress party to stop creating controversy on the recent Pallel drug haul case.
“Stop playing childish politics, let’s do healthy politics”, Biren said to the Congress party while speaking to the media during the launching of a book entitled, “Exam Warriors” written by Prime Minister Modi, at CM Secretariat in Imphal.
Reacting to the Congress demand to hand over the case to the CBI, he questioned, “What is the need of the CBI when investigation is ongoing in full swing with the arrest of the culprits?” He explained that a case should be handed to CBI only when there is confusion and investigation becomes clueless. “Rather, the cases of those 28 police personnel booked under NDPS Act during the Congress regime should be handed over to the CBI as the investigation process is yet uncertain,” he added.
Alleging that MPCC President Keisham Meghachandra is hampering the Pallel drug haul case by threatening the Kakching SP, Chief Minister Biren said an FIR is lodged against the MPCC president and no bargaining can stop police proceedings, reports added.
Meanwhile, the MPCC on January 20 hinted at the ministers and MLAs who attended Pongal Festival at Moreh town on January 15 and alleged that they probably might be the funders of the recent Pallel drug haul case, allegedly involving five CDO personnel.
Reports said, it is surprising to learn that a huge quantity of drugs worth crores of rupees were seized on January 16 morning from a team of CDO who were returning from Moreh, a day after the festival, said legal chairman of MPCC, S Shyamcharan, questioning, “Is it just a coincidence?” The legal chairman, however, clarified that the MPCC cannot provide the proof as everything was done secretly.
He was briefing the media during a sit-in protest held in front of the MPCC office in BT Road, Imphal, demanding handing over the recent Pallel Drug haul case involving five personnel of Manipur Police commando to the CBI.
MAHUD Minister Yumnam Khemchand, Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam, Hill Areas and Tribal Minister Letpao Haokip, MLAs Tongbram Robindro, Sanasam Premchandra and Abdul Narsir reportedly attended the said Pongal festival at Moreh as dignitaries, reports added.
Stating that the five CDO personnel arrested in connection with the drug haul case are not in the position to fund the multi-crore drug businesses, Shyamcharan pointed out that there is a kingpin or a drug lord who funded the business.
He also highlighted the alleged failure of the state police in arresting any drug lords of a drug haul case and also recalled the release of Lhukhosei Zou was considered to be the kingpin of a multi-drug haul case.
“The Congress has lost faith in the investigation of drug cases by the state police, so we demand handing over the recent Pallel Drug haul case to CBI in order to nab the masterminds and the funders,” he added.
Couple Held In Nagaland With Drugs Worth Rs. 1.71 Crores
A joint team comprising of DEF Peren, Narcotic Personnel and CISF while conducting a routine inspection at Teipuiki bridge, Peren district in Nagaland on January 20 at around 1:00 pm, intercepted one Maruti Alto 800 B/R No.NL01CA/2076 which was proceeding to Dimapur from Senapati.
Dduring thorough checking and frisking have recovered 50 soap cases containing suspected Heroin measuring 600 grams approximately, with market value estimated to be 1.71 Crores from the possession of husband and wife who are residents of Senapati, Manipur. A case has been registered at Narcotic Cell Kohima, reports said.
Ngangom Bala Awarded Inspector of Manipur Police Post
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on January 20 has confered the international footballer Ngangom Bala as an inspector of Manipur Police at CM Secretariat in Imphal. Bala was appointed as a constable in Manipur Police in 2010.
Reports said, the Chief Minister also felicitated Panthoi Chanu, Goalkeeper of the National Football Team on winning Best Goalkeeper of the year and Emerging Player of the year. Bala and Panthoi are presently undergoing invitational trial and training at Marbella in Spain.
The Chief Minister expressed his happiness in his Facebook post, “International football player Ngangom Bala Devi was honored by appointing to the post of Manipur Police Inspector while goalkeeper of the Indian football team Elangbam Panthoi Chanu was felicitated today. The state government has been honoring the state athletes, sports players and Olympians for bringing glory to the nation and the state.”
Ngangom Bala is the star forward for the Indian Women team. She represented Manipur Police Sports Club in several leagues and tournaments organised by All Manipur Football Association (AMFA). She was awarded All India Football Federation Women Footballer of the year in 2014, 2015 and 2020. Bala is the lone female footballer in the country to have played for foreign football clubs.
It may be mentioned that she started representing the country in 2005 and continues to contribute to the country. She led the Indian women team as a captain from 2015-2018. Bala is the only player to have signed an 18-month contract with Rangers FC and the contract was extended for another six months, reports added.
12 Cases Against Former and Present MLAs Pending
At least 12 cases are pending as on date against former and present MLAs of Manipur, according to a tabular statement filed by the Inspector General of Police (Administration), Manipur, before the High Court of Manipur. The High Court of Manipur on January 18 directed concerned courts in each of the cases to monitor the investigation by exercising power under section 156 (3) CrPC.
Further, the High Court stated to report the monitoring of investigation in the cases to submit to the Registrar Judicial of the High Court at the end of each calendar month, commencing from the end of January, 2023.
Reports said the amicus curiae submitted that all the cases are at various stages of investigation and suggest that progress of the investigation can be monitored so as to ensure that the cases are taken to their logical conclusion as speedily as possible. The High Court also acknowledged the amicus curiae stating it would not be possible for the High Court to personally monitor the investigation in the pending cases.
It may be mentioned that a petition was filed to the Supreme Court of India by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking expeditious disposal of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs pending investigation or trial in various courts. Following the direction of the apex court, the High Court of Manipur took up a PIL of re-monitoring criminal cases against MP/MLAs of Manipur.
CBI Chargesheets Three in Road Project Scam
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has submitted a chargesheet against three accused in connection with a fake bank guarantee in the name of HDFC Bank, Imphal Branch, amounting to Rs 66,20,000 in favour of Woodhill Infrastructure Limited (which had been awarded the contract for temporary restoration of the 40 kilometres long Tamenglong-Khongsang Road National Highway-137), 2016.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West on January 18 put up the matter for further proceedings, summoning all three accused for further hearing. The court stated that the case was kept in abeyance till investigation is over, awaiting investigation report from CBI, reports said.
The charge was submitted against Ningombam Ibochouba (contractor), Gautam Kumar Roy (the then deputy manager of HDFC, Imphal branch), Deepak Kant Gupta (managing director of M/S Woodhill Infrastructure Limited) under section 120-B, 420, 511, 467, 471 IPC. The CBI also added the company Woodhill Infrastructure Limited through its managing director under the offences punishable.
Reports said, the case pertaining to fraudulent issuance of bank guarantee amounting to Rs 6,62,00,000 in connection with the temporary restoration of National Highway-137 (Tamenglong-Khongsang road) was registered by the CBI in 2019, after the Central government ordered the CBI for carrying out a probe that was registered at the City Police, Imphal in 2016 and also submitted the chargesheet.
While the chargesheet submitted by the City Police was kept into abeyance, on August 6, 2015, Woodhill Infrastructure Ltd was awarded the contract for temporary restoration of a 40-km stretch of the NH-137 after successful bidding. Subsequently, the Ministry directed the company to submit the relevant documents, including bank guarantee to National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), the implementing agency, for signing the contract.
The CBI stated that the accused Deepak Kant, the then managing director of Woodhill Ltd entered into a criminal conspiracy with accused Ibochouba, the contractor towards submission of fake guarantee before the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and in pursuance to that conspiracy accused Ibochouba got prepared the fake bank guarantee (BG) through accused Guatam Kumar Roy, the then deputy manager of HDFC, Imphal branch. The BG was submitted to the MoRTH, HQ, New Delhi on October 14, 2015 prepared by Ganesh Sharma, as per direction of accused Ibochouba. Accordingly, the accused made an attempt to cheat NHIDCL, by submitting fake performance bank guarantees.
The CBI investigation also revealed that NHIDCL received 8 numbers of BGs in respect of some other bids (related to different other projects of Manipur state) and all those BGs were found fake during the process of their verification. Since, all the fake BGs were issued by HDFC, Imphal branch. The NHIDCL declared to reverify the genuineness of the subject Bank Guarantee.
Regarding the fake BG, the NHIDCL also issued a show-cause notice to M/S Woodhill Infrastructure Ltd. But since the reply of the show cause notice given by the company was not found satisfactory, NHIDCL terminated the contract agreement with the company.
The matter of termination of contract agreement went before the Arbitral Tribunal. The tribunal on November 2, 2019 directed the company to pay an amount of Rs 1,71,00,000 to the NHIDCL towards the difference of cost of work payable by NHIDCL due to re-bidding of the project. Till that, the company deposited Rs 70,24,500 in three phases to the NHIDCL. However, civil proceedings do not mitigate the criminal offences committed by the accused persons in the instant case, stated the CBI.
Drones Used To Destroy Poppy Fields
For the first time ever in Manipur, as part of the poppy destruction drive under Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s “War on Drugs 2.0”, Kangpokpi district police used a drone to spray herbicides at a hill range in Kangpokpi district on January 16.
A combined team of Kangpokpi district police, IRB, Manipur Rifles, Forest department, NAB and others conducted the poppy destruction drive at the hill range located at Mongjang village in Kangpokpi district.
Superintendent of police of Kangpokpi district, Th Vikramjit said the district police is using drone for spraying of herbicides as a part of the poppy destruction drive on trial basis despite earlier method of destruction. He said the combined team is targeting to destroy around 25-30 acres of poppy plants cultivated illegally in the area, reports said.
More Poppy Fields Destroyed in Noney
A joint team destroyed at least 0.5 hectares of poppy field at Longpi Kuki village, Nungba Sub-Division under Noney district on January 20. One poppy cultivator identified as Boied Gangte, 30, from Longpi village was handed over to Nungba Police Station where an FIR was registered.
The drive was carried out under the supervision of DFO Noney Division Napoleon Rongmei in collaboration with Manipur Police, Assam Riffles, RNSOM and Nungba CSOs. Drne surveys were also conducted at the poppy fields. Nungba SDO Namlalung Gangmei, Rongmei Naga Student’s Organisation Manipur (RNSOM) president Daichui Gangmei and Nungba Police OC were among the team of the drive, reports said.
Earlier, on January 9, a security team destroyed four hectares of poppy field at T Khongmol Kuki village, Nungba Sub Division in Noney district.
‘War on Drugs’ Not Hoax’: DGP
The seizure of a huge amount of narcotic drugs from five personnel Manipur Police commando does not suggest anywhere that the War on Drugs is a hoax, but it was an achievement made by the Police department, said state Director General of Police (DGP) P Doungel on January 18 addressing the media at his office chamber located at Babupara, Imphal.
The DGP said starting from January 1, 2017 till January 17, 2023, Manipur police department under ND and PS Act have registered as many as 2,243 cases while a total of 2,817 individuals, including 2,222 males and 595 females were arrested. During the said period, the police department along with the Forest department and locals destroyed around 15,642 acres of poppy plants, of which 777 acres of poppy plants were destroyed in 2023.
Considering the achievements which the Police department has made in the last five years, one can easily conclude that the various activities taken up by the department are definitely not a hoax, DGP Doungel said.
Regarding the questions raised by an MLA, he can enquire as an elected member of Manipur Legislative Assembly regarding the case of five commando personnel who were caught red handed with the narcotic drugs, he said.
P Doungel further pointed out that enquiring at such a crucial moment could temper the evidence and suggested that cooperation should be given instead during the investigation in order to find out the roots of the case, reports added.
Drugs Seized From Manipur Police Commandos on Highway
A combined team of District Commando Kakching and Pallel police seized a huge consignment of heroin powder and WY drugs from the possession of a team of five personnel of Mnaipur Police commando at Kuraopokpi which is located near St Joseph English School along Imphal-Moreh Road of NH-102 (Imphal-Moreh) on January 16.
The drugs seized are reported to be worth around Rs 3,35,50,000 in total in the local market. The price is said to be 10 times higher in the international market.
Reports said the five commando personnel have been identified as one havildar Kh Achouba Singh of Manipur Police Training Centre (MPTC); rifleman Th Subhash Chothe of 7th MR; Constable Y Dineshwar Meitei of Imphal West District; rifleman M Premchandra Singh of 6th MR and rifleman N Dorendrajit Singh of 6th MR. All the five personnel are presently attached to Commando Unit, Kakching. Achouba is the commander of the team.
A press release signed by Superintendent of Police, Kakching Shery Vats mentioned that 1.336 kg of heroin powder and 9.151 kg of Yaba drugs marked as ‘WY’ were seized around 7.30 am from a Maruti Gypsy of the team of commando unit Kakching which was posted in Moreh and now under order of posting to special commando unit, Khabeisoi, Imphal East.
The suspected heroin powder in 100 soap cases was found to weigh around 1.336 kg and around 10,000 suspected WY tablets weighed around 9.151 kg. A cash amount of Rs 80,000 was also seized from Achouba who is the leader of the commando team, the release said.
Meanwhile, the arrested five personnel of Manipur Police commandos were produced before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thoubal on January 17 and have been remanded in police custody till January 27.
Four Arrested With Drugs Worth Rs11.82 Crore
While the War on Drugs 2.0 has been intensified, four drug peddlers were arrested with heroin worth around Rs 11,82,50,000 in the international market by a team of Bishnupur district commando along with Churachandpur police on January 17.
Reports said the joint team seized 43 soap cases containing suspected heroin powder worth around Rs 11,82,50,000 in the international market from the possession of the four arrested peddlers and the drugs weighed around 473 grams without the weight of the soap cases.
The arrested persons have been identified as one Vahneikim Baite, 40, wife of Ngamkhomang Baite from Tuibong Zion veng, Churachandpur district; Shamal Das, 49, alias Benjamin, son of Shoilendro Das from Hailagandi district of Garmura village, Assam; Thethem Haokip, 32, wife of Oinam Jimmy from D Phailien, Churachandpur district and Nemneikim Kipgen, 47, wife of Doulet Kipgen from new Boljang, Churachandpur district, reports said.
Senior Citizens Demand Amit Shah to Withdraw Statement
The Senior Citizens for Society (SCS) in Manipur on January 17 condemned the statement made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah at Moirang in Bishnupur district on January 6 stating that Manipuris are decendants of the Arjuna of Mahabharat.
The SCS stated in a release that Amit Shah’s statement on Manipur history is “wrong and misleading”, and demanded withdrawal of the statement.
Further, the SCS urges the Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren “to take initiative to pacify the public outrage”.
Two Migrants Without Valid ILP and Landlord Fined
Two migrants who did not possess valid Inner Line Permit (ILP) have been arrested and fined. They were arrested when a team of Imphal Police conducted a drive at Sagolband Meino Leirak on January 19 to check whether the non-locals staying in the rented house are possessing ILP pass.
During the verification drive, two non-locals namely Akhilesh Raj, 22, son of Pramod Das, Barawa Tola, Ward No. 1, West Seary, Sarea Khas, Manguraha, East Champaran, Bihar and Jitendra Kumar, 26, son of Babulal Sah, Sarea Khas, Manguraha, East Champaran, Bihar were found possessing invalid ILP pass.
Reports said they were produced before the Executive Magistrate Imphal west at about 1.18 PM by the officer in charge of Imphal Police Station, Imphal West district in connection with Non FIR Case No. 4/IPS/2023, u/s 3 of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 & u/s 109 CrPC. The Officer in Charge of Imphal Police Station, Imphal West, Manipur submitted a report against the defaulter.
The accused persons admitted the charges levelled against them. The Court directed them to execute a PR bond and to pay as a fine a sum of Rs.1000 each. The accused persons were also directed to apply for ILP online immediately. Being first time offenders, they were directed not to repeat such activities in future and they shall obtain ILP from the concerned Administrative Office.
The court also directed the landlord who rents to pay Rs 5000 as a penalty per person. The court further directed the Police to release the two non locals outside the state of Manipur if not required in other cases.