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Jawan held with drugs

Imphal, Nov. 27: Manipur police seized pseudoephedrine tablets valued at Rs 15 crore last night from five smugglers, including a Manipur Rifles officer, who were transporting the consignment in two vehicles from here to the border town of Moreh.

The police today said the tablets were found while checking two vehicles at Ushoipokpi under Lilong police station in Thoubal district, 20km from here along the Imphal-Moreh road around 7.30 last evening. The tablets were packed in three bags.

The police said five persons, including an officer of the Manipur Rifles, identified as Hollal Haokip, were taken into custody for interrogation. Haokip is currently posted at Moreh.

The consignment is valued at Rs 15 crore in the black market. The police said the team was taking the tablets to Moreh, 109km from here, to smuggle them to the neighbouring country of Myanmar.

The four other persons were identified as Lunminthang Haokip, 27, Jangkhosei Bolsom, 22, both from Moreh and two women, Vahkim Haokip, 36, and Chinchin Haokip, 46, both from Pallel in Thoubal district.

The arrested persons are yet to be produced in a court.

This is the second time that an army officer was caught red-handed while smuggling such tablets from Imphal to Moreh.

On April 28, the police arrested 11 police commandos at Pallel of Thoubal district along the Imphal-Moreh road along with pseudoephedrine tablets valued at Rs 3.64 crore.

A few days later, the officer-in-charge of Moreh police commando station, R.K. Binojit Singh, was arrested in connection with the case. All the personnel are now in jail.

Police sources said such tablets were regularly smuggled to Myanmar on their way to other international markets. Moreh is a border town through which India and Myanmar conduct international trade. The border town is considered a transit point for international drug smugglers.

Former Manipur director-general of police Yumnam Joykumar Singh did not rule out a politician-army-Assam Rifles-underground nexus in drug smuggling in the state.

The latest haul comes at a time when the state government is mulling a legislation that would give power to the state to confiscate properties of drug offenders in a bid to check rising cases of drug trafficking.

Thoubal superintendent of police A.K. Jhaljit said the value of the seized tablets would be more than Rs 20 crore in the international black market.

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