2nd MR Arms Missing Case: NIA judge releases self-styled UKLF chairman on interim bail

The self-styled UKLF chairman is a prime accused in the arms missing case from the arms kote of 2nd Manipur Rifles

(Representational Image: Unsplash)

Special Judge NIA, Manipur on Tuesday granted interim bail on health grounds to the self-styled chairman of the United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF), who is a prime accused in the arms missing case from the arms kote of 2nd Manipur Rifles, till October 1.

The accused Lhunkhoson Haokip @ Soson @ SS Haokip was declared a proclaimed offender on August 27, 2019 in the arms missing case which is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The proclaimed offender, who is listed as accused number 12 in the NIA charge sheet, surrendered before the court and filed a bail application, on September 16.

While moving bail objection plea, Special PP (NIA) submitted that charge-sheet has already been filed before the court against 13 (thirteen) accused persons, including the present accused showing him as a proclaimed offender.

The accused could not be arrested earlier and only when the accused surrendered before the court, the NIA had the opportunity to interrogate the accused and investigate the case further in connection with the involvement of the accused.

Although there had been sufficient materials to show the knowledge and involvement of the accused in the present case. As such, the special PP (NIA) further submitted that the accused was subjected to due medical aid and his presence or custody shall be required for the further investigation of the case. There is a likelihood of absconding if the accused is released on bail and thus prays for remanding the accused into judicial custody with a direction to the jail authority to provide due medical aid to the accused

The counsel of the accused, however, submitted that the accused never intended to abscond from the case as he is quite innocent and nothing to the alleged offences. As soon as he (accused) came to know about the case showing him as a proclaimed offender, said the counsel adding the accused is ready to defend the case and prove his innocence by facing the trial.

The other ground taken by the counsel is that the accused has been suffering from different ailments and thus he has been under due medical care and attention. In such a situation, remanding the accused into judicial custody will cause deterioration of the health of the accused. The counsel relying on the medical documents filed by the accused at the time of surrendering before the court as well as the medical papers placed before the court showing the treatment of the accused by the NIA during his custody.

Perusing all the records, the Judge stated that the submission of the Spl PP (NIA) requiring the presence or cooperation of the accused in further investigation of the case has force.

However, the medical documents filed by the accused as well as the NIA regarding the treatment of the accused during its custody shows that the accused is having some ailments which needs proper medical care and attention, said the Judge.

“In the premises, from the materials on record and as stated above, at the present stage, the court do not find sufficient materials to release the accused on bail on merit. However, considering the health condition of the accused basing on the materials so far placed before the court. The accused needs proper medical treatment, care and attention in a well-equipped medical institution,” the court order said.

However, the court stated that the accused should cooperate with the investigative authority in the investigation of the case; the accused should not leave the State of Manipur without the permission of the court.

The accused should surrender before this court on October 1 with all the medical papers showing his treatment.

It may be mentioned that during the investigation of the case, NIA carried out a search operation on August 23, 2018 at the residence of Lhunkhoson Haokip during which 9 (nine) 9mm pistols were recovered. The NIA after completion of the investigation submitted their first charge sheet on September 25, 2018 against Laishram Anil Kumar, Thokchom James, Paonam Shanti Kumar, Haobijam Brojendro, Ngamboi Haokip @ Raju, Nellikattil Podiyan Damodaran, Mathurabashimayum Hiranjoy and  Laishram Damudor.

Later, the NIA submitted their second charge sheet of the same case against KRA chief David Hangsing, Th Diamond, Yamthong Haokip (MLA Saikul AC) and Lhunkhonson Haokip. David Hangsing and Yamthong Haokip are currently on bail.

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First Published:Sept. 21, 2021, 11:14 p.m.

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