Four more CDOs face cold-blooded murder charge

IMPHAL,30th Aug: Special Investigation Team (SIT) of CBI, Imphal on Thursday submitted a charge sheet wherein four Manipur police commandos, including a sub-inspector, have been accused of slaying one person in an alleged fake encounter killing that took place near Naran Konjin Pukhri Achouba, under Wangoi police station in 2011. The charge sheeted persons were part of a team of Imphal West district police commandos.

Presenting findings of the probe before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, the charge sheet jointly filed by CBI/SC-III/New Delhi, (SIT Manipur) superintendent of police (SP) LS Padma Kumar and CBI/SC-III/New Delhi/Imphal (SIT Manipur) Dy SP VPS Mann named the accused quartet as sub-inspector Ksh Uttam Kumar (36) son of Ksh Dilip Singh of Wangkhei Wangkheimayum Leikai, presently on deputation to NAB; head constable Kh Sushil Kumar Singh, son of Kh Jugindro Singh of Langthabal Mantrikhong Makha Leikai; head constable Laishram Dinachandra Singh, son of L Joykumar Singh of Langthabal Lep Makha Leikai and 5th IRB riflemen Yumnam Santosh Singh, son of Y Kunjamani Singh of Nilakuthi Awang Leikai.

The SIT documents mentioned that the case was taken up subsequent to the July 14, 2018 directive of the Supreme Court to probe into the death of one Laishram Ranbir Singh alias Eishen, son of late L Ibobi Singh of Uchiwa Awang Leikai. The police FIR registered in connection with Ranbir’s death was based on report provided by SI Uttam Kumar that on December 20, 2011 at about 9 pm specific information was received about movement of cadres of KCP (Kesho Meitei) faction in general area of Naran Konjin with the intention to carry out unlawful activities. The charge sheet further mentioned that the said armed outfit was also involved in the killing of one Soram Ibomcha Singh, who was chowkidar (care-taker) of Irilbung Water Supply scheme and his son Soram Sanatomba alias Yaiphu after abduction.

SI Uttam and his team joined by another team of Imphal East CDOs were on frisking duty along Chandranadi road near Naran Konjin Pukhri Achouba around 11.30 pm during which two persons riding a two-wheeler were signalled to stop. Instead of heeding the call, the two youths opened fire from automatic weapon towards the CDOs and made a U-turn to which the police party retaliated leading to exchange of fire that lasted for about 5-6 minutes.

After the firing ceased, one of the youths was found killed while one small fire-arm and a red-colour Honda Dio without registration number could be recovered, the police FIR said. As per the CBI investigation report, Ranbir had left home in a Honda Dio at about 6.30 am on December 20, 2011 for Konchak Makha Leikai to oversee construction of an Anganwadi Centre at an estimated cost of Rs 8.6 lakh. It was also found during the investigation that he returned home around 11am of the same day for lunch and left for the construction site again at about 4 pm.

Ranbir, the CBI charge sheet mentioned, was in possession of Rs 2 lakh meant for bearing cost of the construction when he left home. However, en-route to the worksite he went to his elder sister’s house at Konchak and drank liquor with his brother-in-law. After dusk (7.30 pm), he was seen off by his sister and brother-in-law till their gate wherein the latter duo observed two persons in plain-clothes following Ranbir on a bike and a Gypsy.

The probe agency further stated that at around 9 pm Ranbir along with a friend - Khumujam Khamba left the worksite for their respective homes on Ranbir’s Honda Dio. Soon after Khamba was dropped at his place, family members could not establish contact with Ranbir. According to the charge sheet, there were no eye witnesses of the firing incident at Naran Konjil apart from the involved CDO team along with concluding that no Imphal East Cdo personnel could be questioned or extracted information with regard to the said incident, thereby hinting that CDO Imphal East was not involved in the incident.

The report also cited expert opinion of FLC, Manipur Pangei that out of the three seized empty cases only two spent cartridges were fired from the 9 mm pistol claimed to have been recovered from the deceased. It is opined that there is remote possibility of the other person, if any, to flee from the site as the alleged encounter lasted for about 5-6 minutes and the CDO personnel also possessed a vehicle that could pursue the fleeing individual.

In contrast to the police FIR claiming attack on the CDO team using automatic weapon only a pistol could be recovered from the crime scene, the CBI report pointed out and also inferred that as per crime scene compilation by CFSL, Post mortem report, FSL report, opinion of AIIMS doctors, records collected from the local police, etc., there was no evidence that Ranbir fired from the weapon reportedly seized from his possession on account of absence of his finger prints on the fire arms or cotton swab of hand wash of Ranbir.

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