Three people who were not even on the list of suspects in the theft of 11 bags of seized pangolin scales from a government godown in Mizoram have applied for anticipatory bail after a person known to them was arrested and questioned.
The trio have subsequently been summoned for interrogation in the high-profile theft that occurred 86 kms away, that too in a different district from where they live, Aizawl.
The May-end theft of the seized pangolin scales (weighing 262 kgs with a total value of Rs 1.7 lakhs) from a godown belonging to the forest department had prompted the state Forest Minister Lalrinmawia Ralte to issue a public statement.
Police investigating the theft at Kolasib town had arrested and questioned a man named Lalrinchhana, suspected to be the driver of a vehicle thought to have ferried the stolen pangolin scales from the godown to traffickers further afield.
Police sources said he refused to divulge his alleged accomplices, and had only said he helped deliver the consignment to a woman in Aizawl. The woman has since absconded, with her house locked from outside. Lalrinchhana’s remand has since expired.
Meanwhile, three people — Lalthlamuana (Lalrinchhana’s elder brother), P C Lianzuala and Lalfakzuali — approached a local court in Aizawl and applied for anticipatory bail in the case.
As their bail hearing continued, police got wind of the development and immediately suspected their involvement and were summoned for questioning.
But they have not presented themselves before investigators, and in the meantime secured anticipatory bail from the court, which observed that “there is no copy of summons showing that the petitioners had received the summons”.
Additional Sessions Judge Vanlalenmawia has however laid down strict conditions for their bail, including the suspect’s cooperation with police and orders for them not to leave the state without the consent of the top magistrate at Kolasib.