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Ibobi hints at shooter identity

Imphal, March 11: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today gave enough hints to indicate that the shot which had wounded the state advocate-general on March 6 was fired by works minister K. Ranjit Singh.

The police had yesterday said the pistol from which the shot was fired belonged to tribal development minister D.D. Thaisii. They have already seized the weapon.

Ibobi Singh was today forced to give an assurance on the floor of the House that if the minister who fired the shot had malafide intentions, he would be punished according to the law of the land.

The bullet hit advocate-general N. Koteshore Singh in the right arm before getting lodged in his right rib cage. Doctors removed it the next day. Though Ibobi Singh did not name the minister who fired the shot, he indicated that it was Ranjit Singh.

“The pistol belongs to tribal development minister D.D. Thaisii. The AG was travelling with Thaisii and works minister K. Ranjit Singh in the same car in view of security concerns. Thaisii took out his licensed pistol to put it somewhere else, as he was uncomfortable with it since he was travelling for quite a distance. On seeing the pistol, Ranjit Singh took it for a closer look, saying it was nice. The magazine was already taken out. The trigger was pulled thinking that there was no bullet in the pistol. However, the gun fired as one bullet was lodged inside the chamber,” Ibobi Singh told the House without clearly saying who pulled the trigger.

As Ibobi Singh did not say that the pistol was handed back to Thaisii, his statement indicated that the shooter was the works minister.

The incident was raised by leader of the Opposition Radhabinod Koijam during a discussion on appropriation bills this afternoon following which Ibobi Singh was compelled to explain the incident to the House. “The police are investigating the case. If anything wrong was committed by anyone involved in the case he would get punishment,” he added. The police said they had seized the Ambassador allotted to the works minister, in which the three were travelling, this morning.

High court lawyers resumed their duties today.

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