STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 8th Mar: Four people including one cadre of the MoU signed underground group have been arrested by Imphal West district police in connection with killing of Thokchom Toni alias Jagat.
Jagat, it may be mentioned, was shot dead on the intervening night of March 2 and 3 near his residential gate at Nagamapal.
Meanwhile, the cash reward of Rs 1 lakh announced by Thangmeiband United Club to anyone who could provide information on the killer(s) was given to Imphal West SP Themthing Ngasangva. However, the latter handed over the same amount to Toni’s family.
Among the arrested culprits include one cadre of Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) which signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government. The cadre has been identified as Haobijam Dilip alias Taibangnganba (45) son of late Kunjababu of Keibul Lamjao but presently residing at Bishnupur Mamang Awang Leikai Ward No 11. The other arrested persons are identified as Sandham Bojon alias Tombi (43) son of late Rudra of Langol Laimanai, Lamabam Basan alias Thoi (21) son of Ibo of Ngaikhong Khullen Maning Leikai and Wahengbam Sanathoi (18) son of Nganba of Nachoupokpi Makha Leikai. Basan and Sanathoi are said to be transgender. All of them were arrested in the wee hours of Thursday from different parts of the state.
Police also recovered one Hyundai i-10 car bearing registration No MN-06 LA-2316 and one double barrel gun used in committing the crime from their possession.
Addressing media persons about the breakthrough in Toni killing case, SP Themthing Ngasangva said Imphal police station registered an FIR in connection with the killing of Toni at Nagamapal. Based on the FIR, the district police started investigation and collected footages of CCTV cameras installed along Nagamapal road. Apart from checking footages of CCTV cameras, the district police also conducted search operations at various places using own sources. During the course of the investigation, the investigating team received specific information that one of the suspects is staying at Langol Laimanai area. Following the lead, a large team of the district police assisted by police commandos conducted search operation at Langol Laimanai area during the wee hours of Thursday. During the course of the search operation, the police team detected the Hyundai i-10 car involved in the Nagamapal incident. It was found parked at a house and arrested the owner of the car identified as Sandham Bojon. During initial questioning, Bojon disclosed that Toni was shot dead by Dilip but recovered the double barrel gun used in the incident from Bojon’s house.
According to Themthing Ngasangva, the same team of police later arrested Dilip from a house in Moirang area and Dilip confessed to shooting Toni. Following Dilip’s disclosure, transgender Basan and Sanathoi too were picked from their respective houses, he said, adding that the motive behind the killing of Toni is yet to be ascertained but police are continuing investigation to unearth reason behind the incident.
Stating that Imphal West district police managed to solve the case due to immense support and help from Thangmeiband United Club, Nagamapal locals and Toni’s family members, Themthing Ngasangva lauded the local people and clubs.
Members of Thangmeiband United Club and Toni’s family members who were present during the press conference handed over Rs 1 lakh cash reward announced for leads about Toni’s killing to SP Themthing Ngasangva, who then handed the same amount to Toni’s father.
Meanwhile, post mortem examination of Toni’s corpse was conducted at RIMS mortuary Thursday but family members and local club have refused to accept the body till government gives a firm commitment on taking appropriate action against the MoU signed underground cadres who are loitering in public places with arms.
A 24-hour bandh in areas under Thangmeiband assembly constituency was also enforced since Wednesday mid-night to mount pressure upon the government to arrest the culprits.