NIA to probe 56 missing pistols

Pothashang News Service: Imphal, March 31: The state government has written to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe missing of 56 auto 9 mm 1A pistols along with 58 magazines, said chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh.

Addressing the reporters at CM’s secretariat Biren termed the incident of missing of arms from the well-guarded Arms Kote (PHQ Pool) of 2nd Battalion, Manipur Rifles as a serious threat to the national and state security. The incident came to light after  MR Commandant P. Manjit examined the current holdings of arms and ammunitions of both the unit and PHQ Pool, he added.

During the examination, it could be ascertained that out of the total 570 auto 9 mm 1A pistols received from PHQ on September 11, 2014, 56 weapons along with 58 magazines were found missing, said Biren.

He said there were incidents of taking up of cases in connection with missing of ammunition as well in the past.

Deputy chief minister Y. Joykumar said after a thorough discussion, the state government has chosen NIA as the most appropriate agency to investigate the case as it has expertise in militancy related cases. He expressed hope that the agency would minutely probe the incident.

Giving a detailed account of the investigation so far, Imphal West SP Themthing Ngashangva said two personnel of the 2nd MR have been arrested in connection with the incident. They have been identified as Damodaran NP (Hav. No. 60985) and Narayan Chetry (Rfn. No. 0296004).

The officer said there was an incident of seizing a 9 mm pistol highly suspected to be one of the missing pistols from four persons along with three magazines and three rounds on November 4, 2016. The four persons have been identified as Paonam Shanti Kumar , 48, son of  (L) P. Shamu of Kwakeithel Mayai Koibi Ningthoujam Leikai, Lourembam Johnson Singh alias John , 31son of  L. Basanta of Kwakeithel Mayai Koibi, M. Hiranjoy Sharma alias Ngoubi 32 son of M. Haridas of Tera Sapam Leirak and Rfn. No. 6070197 Laishram Anilkumar Singh 33 son of L. Ibomcha of Sangaiprou Mamang Leikai.

For further investigation, Hiranjoy and Shanti Kumar have been rearrested today while Anilkumar have been picked up and kept under watch at RIMS hospital due to his poor medical condition, the SP informed. The SP further said Anilkumar is currently under suspension.

Themthing further said there was also another incident of seizing one of the missing pistols (Body No. 18506740) from a hardcore KRA cadre namely 2nd Lt. Ngamboi Haokip alias Raju , 37, son of  (L) Doumang Haokip of Loibol Khunou Waroiching and his subordinate Seineo Khongsai, 32, son of Khaikham Khongsai of Pangmoul Village in Senapati District. They were arrested in connection with an extortion case on August 13 last year.

As such, Ngamboi Haokip was rearrested in connection with the case at around 5 am today for further investigation.

Themthing said investigation of the case is in good progress. Five persons have so far been arrested for involvement and one 9 mm pistol has been identified. Another weapon seized on September 4, 2016 is under active examination as its body number has been found tampered beyond visibility, the officer said.

Ministers, MLAs, DGP and additional chief secretary (home) were also present at the press conference.

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