Imphal, Jan. 6: Police picked up an under-age boy as a suspect in the abduction and killing of Shankar Lal Swami, manager of Mangalam Plywood Industry Pvt Ltd based at Kanglatongbi in Senapati district.
He is now lodged in a government-run juvenile home, the police said today. With this, the number of accused in the case has gone up to five.
The police said the boy was picked up from Imphal West on Friday and was now in the juvenile home after being produced before a juvenile court. The police, however, did not reveal his identity.
Shankar Lal Swami, 59, was abducted from Kangla Fort by three persons, including two India Reserve Battalion personnel, on Wednesday.
The body of the hostage was found in a fish farm at Wheng Khuman Keijengbam in Imphal West the next day.
The two IRB riflemen have been identified as Yumnam Dinesh, 30, from Wheng Khuman Keijengbam and Laishram Herojit, 34, from Lamsang, both in Imphal West.
The police said the two IRB personnel and another accused, Hanjabam Dipu, brought the hostage to the fish farm and left the place after handing him over to another accused, Govind Singh, a surrendered militant, and the boy.
The four accused have been remanded in police custody and the boy in the juvenile home till January 10.
The police said the under-age boy was not involved much in the abduction and murder of the hostage. “He was forced by one of the four accused, who hails from the boy’s locality, to be with the surrendered militant to guard the hostage,” said a police officer.
Swami was abducted on a ransom demand of Rs 1 crore. However, it was not paid. The two IRB personnel were deployed inside Kangla Fort for sentry duties.
The police said the abductors used names of militant outfit Kuki National Army as well as a faction of the Kangleipak Communist Party.
Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of Swami, besides deciding to hand over the case to the CBI for an impartial probe as two IRB personnel are involved in the case.