Addl CS to probe Abonmai case : Police remand of accused duo extended

Imphal, October 07 2021: The state government has ordered its own investigation into the abduction and murder of Zeliangrong civil society leader Athuan Abonmai and appointed additional chief secretary V Vumlunmang as the inquiry officer.

The probe will ascertain the facts and circumstances leading to the death of Abonmai, fix responsibility thereof and to recommend preventive measures to avert any such incidents in future, said an order issued Wednesday by joint secretary (Home) Rehanuddin Choudhury.

According to the joint secretary, the order is in pursuance of the Memorandum of Agreement signed between the state government and the Joint Action Committee Against the Brutal Murder of Athuan Abonmai earlier on Wednesday.

Stating that the inquiry officer shall submit the report within three months from the date of issue of the order, it also specified as the inquiry will be independent from the investigation to be conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the finding of the enquiry thereof may be submitted to NIA.

The Court of CJM, Tamenglong on Wednesday extended police remand period of the two people, who were arrested in connection with the abduction and subsequent murder of Athuan Abonmai, for 10 more days.

According to police sources, accused Ponthalung Panmei alias Paul used to be a self-styled sergeant in NSCN(K) and he was earlier arrested in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2015; while accused Bosco Gonmei is a closed acquaintance of one Jackson of NNC Zeliangrong Region.

Both of them were arrested from their respective houses by a team of Imphal West District Commandos on September 27 and produced before the CJM Tamenglong, which then remanded the duo to 9 days in police custody.

According to the report submitted by the IO to-the Court, the two of them posed as sub-contractors based in Tamenglong district for distribution of NFSA rice, and collected money from the people on behalf of a hill-based outfit.

Ponthalung Panmei had previously completed a 3-month basic military training as a cadre of NSCN(K) in Mon district, Nagaland and took the post of a self-styled sergeant.

He had been arrested a total of four times, two of which were under NSA.

The report further conveyed that Pon-thalung Panmei is a coordinator member of a hill-based terrorist group and acted as a sub-contractor to extort money from the people.

As such, he needs to be further interrogated so as to solve the abduction and subsequent murder of Athuan Abonmai.

Meanwhile, the second accused Bosco Gonmei is also involved in funding activities for the same terrorist group and was responsible for disrupting peace and security of the state.

After listening to the report, the Court extended police remand of both for 10 more days for further interrogation.

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