Police on Sunday arrested a Defence PRO and five others with pseudoephedrine tablets valued at over Rs. 16 crore, at the Pallel checkpost along NH-39, about 50 km from here.
Colonel Ajoy Kumar Choudhury, the Defence wing (Press Information Bureau) PRO, had been posted in Imphal for nearly two years. Reacting to the arrest, Defence Ministry officials said: “We are looking into the matter.”
The police sources said three jeeps coming from Imphal were driving towards Moreh, the border town, 109 km away from Imphal. When the police commandos at Pallel tried to flag down the first jeep, the passenger told them that he was the Defence PRO and sped away. Realising that something was amiss, one commando team chased and cornered the jeep. It was driven by Haopu Haokip. The other passenger sitting with the Defence PRO was identified as Brojen Ngairangbam, assistant manager of the security staff of Indigo airline. By that time, women activists rushed out to block the highway, making it impossible for anyone to drive away.
The second jeep was driven by Millan Haokip and the passenger was identified as Mingthing Dougel. The third was driven by an Army man, Babloo Rajkumar. Police sources said the pseudoephedrine tablets were packed in 31 big duffel bags. Police have registered a case.
There have been several seizures of drug consignments valued at crores of rupees from post offices, airport and courier services in Imphal. The police had abolished the Special Intelligence Unit responsible for seizure of drugs and other intoxicants. Many sections of people have been agitating for the disclosure of particulars of drug barons. However, Joykumar Yumnam, Director-General of Police, said it was very difficult to nail anyone since the drug consignments had been sent to fictitious names.
Local sources said the pseudoephedrine tablets are smuggled out to Myanmar for a huge profit. A tablet available in India at Re. 1 or so is sold at Rs. 50 in Myanmar. These tablets are made into very strong and addictive drugs by adding other ingredients and then sent back to Manipur for distribution in many States.