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Drug smuggling case: Manipur Cong demands CM’s resignation

Drug smuggling case: Manipur Cong demands CM’s resignation
N Biren Singh (File)
Correspondent IMPHAL, JUL 15 | Publish Date: 7/15/2020 10:08:56 PM IST

Manipur Congress Wednesday demanded resignation of chief minister N Biren Singh on morale ground after he was accused of favouring a drug kingpin in an affidavit of an MPS officer.

The opposition also demanded handing over the drug haul case involving former ADC chairman, who was also a BJP leader, to a neutral investigative agency like CBI in the interest of justice.

Demands of Congress come in the backdrop of recent allegations against high profile persons (a state BJP leader claiming to be a close acquaintance of state chief minister and top police officers in favour of the accused drug smuggler of the infamous 2018 drug haul case) in an affidavit submitted to High Court of Manipur on last Monday.

MPS officer Th Brinda, who served as additional SP of Narcotic and Affairs of Border (NAB), in her affidavit to the High Court of Manipur gave a detailed account of pressure mounted on her while investigating into the case.

Brinda is facing a suo motu contempt case for her “offensive” remarks on Facebook allegedly undermining and criticising the judiciary after the alleged drug kingpin Lhukhosei Zhou was granted a three-week bail by the court of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in the 2018 drug haul case.

Zou, who was then serving as chairman of the Autonomous District Council (ADC), Chandel was arrested by a team of the Narcotics and Affairs of Border in 2018 from his official quarters at Lamphel reportedly with 4.6kg of heroin powder and 2,80,200 numbers of “World is Yours” tablets estimated to be worth around Rs 28 crore.

While describing the details of the sequence after drugs were seized from Zou, the MPS officer alleged that in 2018 after arresting Zou with drugs from his residence, a BJP leader came to her residence and pleaded to release Zou as he was an ADC member. 

The same politician came more than once to Brinda’s place seeking the release of Zou, according to the affidavit.

After submitting the charge sheet on December 14, 2018, Brinda was called for a meeting with the DG and DG asked the whereabouts of the charge sheet.

The chief minister wanted the charge sheet removed from the court, she was told, according to the affidavit. 

Even the IO of the case was asked to withdraw the charge sheet. An advocate and one SP had been to the court making attempts to remove the charge sheet, she alleged.

In March 2019, Brinda along with SP, SPP, ND&PS Lamphel met the chief minister at his bungalow in the morning, said the affidavit. There, she claimed that the chief minister scolded her stating “Is this why I gave you gallantry medal”. 

In her affidavit, she stated that she still did not understand why they were reprimanded for “dutifully discharging our lawful duty to that day”.

She alleged, in the affidavit, that such high-profile persons were looting the state and destroying the youth, and that the government’s war on drugs was only eyewash.

Opposition leader and former chief minister O Ibobi Singh told reporters at Imphal Congress Bhavan today that “This is a serious allegation which should not be taken lightly.

He said that if the government was sincere enough while dealing the cases related with illegal drugs, the case should be handed over to a neutral investigative agency like the CBI. 

Chief Minister N Biren Singh should convene a cabinet meeting immediately and adopt a resolution to hand over the case to an independent body like the CBI, he demanded.

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