Kohima/Jorhat, Feb. 19: Nagaland home minister Imkong L. Imchen, who was arrested yesterday for carrying arms and Rs 1.10 crore in cash, resigned late last night and was today remanded in judicial custody for 24 hours.
Imchen was sent to judicial remand after being produced in court, Wokha deputy commissioner R. Vysan said.
Superintendent of police Limasunep Jamir said Imchen has been lodged at a police guesthouse, which is serving as a temporary lock-up, according to the directive of the magistrate, on health ground.
Sources said Imchen’s lawyer has moved for bail. He has already produced a medical certificate claiming poor health.
Wokha police had registered a case (No. 19/13) against Imchen for being in possession of arms, liquor and cash — Sections 171E, 171F and 188 IPC read with (R/W) 25 (1AA) of Arms Act (R/W) 44 Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition (NLTP) Act R/W 77(3) Representation of People’s Act 1951.
Five 7.65 pistols with 80 rounds of ammunition, 10 magazines of 7.55 pistol, two .303 rifles with two magazines and 100 rounds of ammunition, Rs 1.10 crore and 11 bottles of liquor were found in Imchen’s vehicle. He was intercepted by Assam Rifles near Longsa village, 6km from Wokha town in Wokha district. In his resignation letter, Imchen said he has not committed any crime and was not aware of the seizure of arms.
About Rs 47 lakh was also seized from an agent of T.R. Zeliang, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) candidate from Peren Assembly constituency, at Peren. The deputy commissioner of Peren, Senti Ao, confirmed the report but could not give details. Superintendent of police Richard Yimto, who is handling the case, could not be contacted.
The NPF denied using money to win elections and accused the Centre of trying to suppress the Naga people.
On February 15, Tuli police, led by assistant superintendents of police Mhalevi Koso and Neikhro Doulo, and 14 India Reserve Battalion personnel had seized arms, ammunition and locally prepared bombs during routine checking at Molongkimong village under Tuli subdivision in Mokokchung district. They arrested 55 people.
The joint force seized an AK-56 rifle with 49 rounds of ammunition and two magazines, an Italy-made .22 pistol, one US-made .22 pistol; 17 rounds of ammunition of 7.65 pistol; 23 rounds of ammunition of 9mm pistol and 56 bombs, suspected to have been made with gelatin sticks, Tuli sub-divisional police officer Hiatwa Iralu said.
Of the 55 persons arrested, 53 were booked under 107 CrPC and released. Two of them, Purneken, 37, and Imkongkumzuk, 32, both from Molongkimong village, were arrested. A case has been registered against the duo under Sections 25 (1a) of the Arms Act R/W Section 5 of Explosive Substances Act. The two have been remanded in judicial custody.
Five youths from Nagaland, including the son of a former minister, were arrested for carrying illegal arms and ammunition at Deberapar in Jorhat district of Assam near the inter-state border today.
The arrests came within 24 hours of Imchen’s arrest.
Deberapar outpost in-charge Pratim Gogoi said five youths travelling in a Maruti van were stopped in front of the outpost on Dhodar Ali road late last night. After searching the van, a .22 calibre pistol with five rounds of ammunition and a 7.65mm pistol with eight rounds of live ammunition were recovered.
A case (number 26/13) has been registered at Mariani police station under Section 25 1B(A) of the Arms Act, 1959.
The five youths have been identified as Asang Imgen, Meren Imgen, Tusang Imgen, Along Longkumer and Sanat Aier. Sanat is the son of Tiameren Aier, who was a minister in the Neiphiu Rio government.
The youths have told the police that they were coming from Lungfa in Mokokchong district via Mariani and were headed to Charing Basti via Nakachari in that district.
Jorhat superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasor told this correspondent that investigations were on to find out from where the youths got the weapons and for what purpose they had been acquired.
Nagaland goes to the polls on February 23.
On January 17, Deberapar police arrested a Nagaland minister’s son along with eight others at the same spot. They were ferrying a consignment of India-made foreign liquor (IMFL) in six vehicles. The liquor, worth over Rs 5 lakh, was reportedly being taken to poll-bound Nagaland, which is a dry state. One of the vehicles reportedly belonged to Nagaland PHE minister N.K. Longkumer. His son, Tushi K. Longkumer, was allegedly using the vehicle, which even had “Minister of Nagaland” inscribed on a plate.
The vehicles were carrying different IMFL brands, reportedly purchased here, and were heading to Mokokchung using Dhodar Ali road to enter Nagaland through Naginijan, along the inter-state boundary.
After searching the vehicles, police found 4,796 bottles of rum, 578 bottles of Kingfisher beer, 244 bottles of Blenders Pride whisky, 21 bottles of Royal Stag whisky and 24 bottles of Red Label whisky, sources said. The people ferrying the liquor did not have any excise permits or any other papers related to the consignment.