The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Heroin haul nets Manipur leader

Oct. 22: A former deputy Speaker of Manipur Assembly was arrested today along with two others with over one kg high-grade heroin during an early morning swoop on a Guwahati hotel.

The price of the heroin is estimated to be nearly Rs 1 crore in the international market.

Lokhon Singh Henam, former deputy Speaker and a Congress leader, was booked under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. His two accomplices have been identified as Oinam Netrajit Singh, an executive member of the Manipur State Congress Party, and Bitu Ramchiary, a peddler based in Guwahati.

The three will be produced before the chief judicial magistrate tomorrow. If convicted, they could be sentenced for upto 20 years in prison with a fine of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.

K. Ashi Khieya, joint commissioner of customs, northeastern region, said in Guwahati, “For the first time such high-profile people have been caught with contraband. For the past two months, we have been tracking reports that VIPs from Manipur are carrying banned substances in their luggage.”

The three men had arrived in Guwahati by bus from Imphal on October 18 with the heroin from Myanmar and put up at a city hotel. The sleuths of the Narcotics Control Bureau, Guwahati customs and directorate of revenue intelligence, who were tailing them, raided the hotel in Manipuri Basti after a tip-off at 8 am today.

The sleuths are trying to find out if the trio has any link with the Sang Niang Thanga and the Ah Hua cartel. “We are examining every possibility. Preliminary investigations reveal that more people are involved. We will co-ordinate with our officials in Manipur for more leads,” customs commissioner Donald Ingty said in Shillong.

Lokhon Singh was first elected to the Manipur Assembly from Konthoujam in 1979. He was a lecturer at Manbol Leiren Girls Higher Secondary School before joining the Congress in 1967. He subsequently joined the Manipur State Congress party.

He was minister of state for medical and public health engineering in the Rishang Keishing ministry during 1981-85, PWD minister in the R.K. Joychandra Singh government from 1988-1990, minister for animal husbandry and veterinary once again in the Keishing government in 1995. He was in charge of finance, excise and taxation in the W. Nipamacha Singh-led government in 1997.

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