Former ADC Chandel chairman Lhukhosei Zou acquitted in drug haul case
Special Court NDPS on Thursday acquitted former ADC Chandel chairman Lhukhosei Zou and ordered his immediate release from jail.
Special Court NDPS, Manipur on Thursday acquitted former ADC Chandel Lhukhosei Zou and six others in the drug haul case of 2018 citing the failure of the prosecution to prove the allegation leveled against them (accused).
However, the two other accused in the same case, Thangminlun Zou and Tung Khan Mung Zou have been convicted under section 21(c)/22(c)/29 of NDPS Act, 1985. The sentence hearing of Thangminlun and Mung Zou is fixed on December 21.
The prosecution has failed to prove that the seizing officer seized 2 lakh WY tablets from the unauthorised possession of Lhukhosei Zou, the court stated. Moreover, the prosecution also failed to prove that the accused Teresa, Ester Vungheinuam, Lawrance Zou, Lhukhosei Zou, Sianzathang Zou, Niangkasuan Zou and Pausuanlam Zou have committed abetment and conspiracy in connection with the drug haul case, it added.
The prosecution was able to prove that the seizing officer seized 80, 000 WY tablets (containing huge amount of methamphetamine) and 2, 677 kgs of heroin powder from the unauthorised possession of the accused Thangmeilun Zou under active participation, abetment and conspiracy with Tung Khan Mung Zou.
Pertaining to the seizure of 4.595 Kgs of Heroin powder the court noted that of the Heroin powder seized only 2.677 kgs were not produced. The prosecution has not explained for the non-production of 1.918 kgs from the Malkhana. “There is a serious irregularities in the office of the officer-in-charge of NAB police station. It requires strict enquiry other than the enquiry conducted earlier. So in this case, the court will presume that the police had seized only 2.677 kgs of Heroine from possession of Thangminlun Zou”, said the court.
During the hearing, Thangmeilun Zou and Lhukhosei Zou were interacted through Jitsi Meet app at Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa. Tung Khan Mung Zou was physically present before the court and taken into the custody from Thursday.
The court directed to release Lhukhosei Zou from the MCJ, Sajiwa immediately after completion of the formalities of the jail authorities.
There are no allegations against the seized license guns involved in the case, and in the charge sheet the investigating officer prayed for dropping the charges of section 27 Arms Act as against the Lhukhosei Zou as no offence could be made out, the court order mentioned.
Further, the court directed to hand over all the seized articles in connection with the case from whom it was seized except the contraband drugs and demonetised money of Rs 95, 000 and thus forfeited to the state government and no specific charge has been framed by the court.
The superintendent of police, NAB has been directed to deposit the demonetised money to the RBI with a prayer for exchange the amount, if law permits and change amount if allowed, and deposit to the exchequer of the state government.
It directed that the exhibits MOs and the unproduced drugs seized in connection with the case be disposed of according to law after the lapse of the appeal period. The court directed the special public prosecutor to take care of the matter. The court has fixed sentence hearing of the two convicted accused on December 12.
Special Court (NDPS), Manipur took up the drug haul case of 2018 against the 13 individuals. Among the 13, four were discharged from the case. The court took cognizance against the remaining nine individuals. The prosecution produced 17 witnesses.
The former ADC chairman was allegedly arrested along with seven others with drugs worth over Rs. 27 crore in the international market by a team of Narcotic and Affairs of Border (NAB) police and Imphal West on June 20, 2018. During the series of raids conducted the same day, the joint team seized allegedly recovered huge quantities of WY tablets 4, 595kgs of heroin powder, money including demonitised notes and other articles from various persons.