Congress MLA from Manipur Yamthong Haokip was arrested Friday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a missing arms case, according to an official statement. The Special NIA judge on Friday remanded Haokip to judicial custody for 15 days in connection with the case pertaining to theft of 56 pistols and 58 magazines from the Director General (of Police) pool armoury located within the premises of 2nd Manipur Rifles Battalion, Imphal between September 2016 and early 2017.
The Manipur government had handed over the case to the NIA to conduct a probe.
During the course of the investigation, the NIA’s sleuth recovered one of the 9 mm pistols from Haokip’s Mantripukhri residence during a two-day raid starting from July 30. On the first day of the raid, Haokip was taken to a hospital in Imphal after he complained of chest pain and subsequently shifted to a hospital in New Delhi.
Haokip was produced before the special court today where NIA informed them that some of the accused have revealed that Haokip received several consignments of the stolen 9 mm pistols and delivered some of it to former Congress minister, Ngamthang Haokip and David Hangshing, chairman of militant group Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA).
While custodial interrogation of the accused is not required at the moment, the NIA requested for reserving their rights to have police custody as and when required in accordance with law.
Despite, remand objection submitted by Haokip’s counsel, who cited his position as MLA and health condition, the court rejected the plea and remanded Haokip to 15 days judicial custody.
“Considering the nature of the case and the stage of the investigation, judicial remand of the accused is necessary for the sake of proper investigation of the investigation agency,” said the court.
Nevertheless, the judge ordered Haokip to be lodged at the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMA) hospital, Imphal where an adequate medical facility is available considering his health condition.
Meanwhile, the NIA’s sleuth on Thursday also recovered nine of the missing 9 mm pistols from the Mantripukhri residence of Chief of the United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF). Both UKLF and KRA, are signatory under the suspension of operation agreement signed with the Government of India and Manipur Government.
The NIA has so far recovered 14 pistols from different individuals arrested in connection with the case.
Manipur’s Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren had termed the incident as a breach of National Security.
Four police officers, including an IPS officer, were also suspended in connection with the case.