A special judge has permitted the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the probe into the Manipur missing arms case in which 56 pistols disappeared from the 2nd Manipur Rifles (MR) garrison armoury.
In response to a petition filed by NIA on Saturday, the special judge directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) to transfer all case records, including the FIR, in possession of the Imphal West police station. In the petition filed by NIA Superintendent of Police (Guwahati), the agency pleaded the court to hand over information pertaining to the FIR and also said in compliance of an order of the Home Ministry, it had re-registered a case at its Guwahati branch office under Sections 120(B) and 409 of IPC UA(P) Act.
Altogether 56 9mm pistols along with 59 magazines went missing from the armoury of the 2nd MR Garrison. The MR is guarded at all times. The missing weapons were part of a consignment of 570 9mm pistols purchased by the Manipur government on September 11, 2014, for the state’s security forces.
The incident came to light last Friday after the commandant of the 2nd MR, P Manjit, examined the current holdings of arms and ammunitions of both the unit and police head quarters (PHQ) Pool. Subsequently, the commandant lodged an FIR with the concerned police station. It has been reported that five suspects involved in the case, including two personnel of the MR and a cadre of a Kuki militant, have been arrested by the police.
Taking serious note of the case, Chief Minister N Biren Singh in April had announced to hand over the case to NIA, terming the incident as a breach of national security. Later, the Manipur government also suspended four of its senior police officers, including an IPS officer. The suspended police officers include a sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), CO in-charge of 3rd India Reserve Battalion (IRB), Additional SP Jiribam and a Superintendent of Police Kamjong district.