The National Investigation Agency has arrested Manipur Congress MLA Yamthong Haokip on Friday in connection with a missing arms case. Haokip was remanded a 15 days judicial custody by a special NIA Judge on the same date.
The court observed, “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,”
Haokip was arrested for having a connection with the theft of 56 pistols and 58 magazines from Director General of Police’s armory located within the premises of 2nd Manipur Rifles Battalion, Imphal between September 2016 and early 2017. Haokip was arrested alongside the chairman of Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) an underground organization, David Hangshing. NIA probe has revealed that Haokip provided pistols to Hangshing.
Haokip is a representative of the Kuki-dominated constituency of Saikul in the newly set-up district of Kangpokpi district. NIA last month discovered one of the 56 stolen 9mm pistols along with some cash and gold biscuits during a two-day raid which started on 30th July. On the first day of the raid, Haokip complained of chest pain and was subsequently taken to Imphal and later shifted to a hospital in New Delhi for a health check-up.
The NIA revealed that several accused have informed them about Haokip receiving several consignments of the stolen 9mm pistols. It is suspected Haokip also delivered a portion of those consignments to a former Congress minister, Ngamthang Haokip, and David Hangshing.
The missing arms case first came to light when the new commandant of the 2nd Manipur rifles, P Manjit who upon joining in March this year, conducted an examination of the arms and ammunition holdings in the unit and the Police headquarters pool. It was after this thorough examination, the army found that 56 pistols of the auto 9mm variant and 58 magazines were missing from their collection. The missing pistols and magazines were a part of the 570 pistols that the army received from the state police headquarters on September 11, 2014.
NIA started investigating this particular case after the Home minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh wrote a formal letter to the NIA for taking charge of this probe. The NIA spokesperson stated their confidence in the collected evidence, which they believe is adequate to prove the MLA’s complicity in this case.
The NIA 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. NIA has recovered 14 of the missing 9 mm pistols so far. Four police officers, including an IPS officer, have also been suspended in connection with this case.