The Mizoram Police have arrested a high-ranking political party worker and his accomplice for threatening an Aizawl resident to pay Rs 20 lakhs. The Zoram Nationalist Party has however denied the party’s involvement.
Jacob Lianhuapa (40), currently chief organizer of the ZNP’s youth wing, and Vanlalliana (20), who has been living with Jacob for sometime, were arrested by investigators of the CID (Special Branch) late on Monday night.
Investigators said Jacob first called up S T Khama, a former ponzi scheme collector and one-time independent MLA candidate, on his cellphone in mid-October and asked him to pay their “outfit” Rs 20 lakhs.
Jacob did not identify himself or mention what the “outfit” was, but gave S T Khama a deadline of October 26 to make the payment and said “we will do what needs to be done” if he did not.
Khama informed the police, and the CID (SB) was roped in to investigate. In the meantime, Khama negotiated with Jacob saying he would pay them Rs 3 lakhs first, and an Aizawl hotel was designated a drop-off point.
“The money was delivered on Sunday to the hotel, but the Jacob not pick it up immediately. On Monday he paid a coolie to collect the money and asked him to leave it with an elderly hawker. His accomplice Vanlalliana then picked it up from the hawker in the evening,” said a CID (SB) official.
Plainclothes policemen from the unit immediately tracked him on foot for several hours and eventually arrested Jacob and Vanlalliana on Monday night on a side alley in Aizawl’s Chanmari neighbourhood.
“We have no information that Jacob is connected to a militant group so it is likely he acted for his own benefit. It is unclear if he was doing this as part of party activity,”the investigator said.
Lalmuanpuia Punte, ZNP youth president, denied knowledge of the incident and said, “The ZNP did not in any way ask these men to carry out these activities.”
The Zoram Nationalist party immediately stripped Jacob Lianhuapa of his position as Chief Organizer of the party’s youth wing on Tuesday afternoon, when news of his arrest spread.