Manmohan summoned CM following reports army, police personnel were involved

As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken a serious view of the burgeoning drug menace in Manipur, the State Cabinet has decided to hand over to the Central Bureau of Investigation the case of seizure of prescription drugs, worth Rs. 4 crore, from 12 policemen at Pallel near the international border on April 28.

Dr. Singh summoned Chief Minister Okram Ibobi on Thursday in the wake of the reports of seizure of drugs involving some army and police personnel.

A Bill will be introduced in the budget session, beginning June 10, to forfeit the properties of drug offenders and their immediate relatives, government spokesperson Okendro Moirangthem told journalists on Friday night after a Cabinet meeting.

The government was concerned at the failure to find out the drug barons operating in Manipur. All 12 policemen are now in police custody. In this case, 11 policemen, attached to the commando unit at the border town of Moreh, told investigators that they had only carried out an order of their commandant Binodjit Rajkumar. He was arrested from his house at Yaiskul in Imphal on May 10.

The police are raiding the house of Mohammad Ali of Lilong Leihaomakhong in Thoubal district, from whom Mr. Rajkumar had allegedly asked the policemen under him to fetch the prescription drugs and offered them Rs. 1,20,000 for the job.

Meanwhile, Sahabuddin of Lilong Tairenmakhong, also in Thoubal district, was arrested along with prescription drugs worth over Rs. 75,000 when the consignment was being taken by car to Moreh on Friday night. He was paraded before journalists on Saturday along with the seized drugs.

A police team intercepted the car at 9.30 p.m. on Lilong Masjid Road. It found tablets packed inside a box.

Drug trafficking through Manipur is a daily affair. The first sensational seizure of prescription drugs was made on February 21 at Pallel near the international border, when six persons led by Colonel Ajay Choudhury, defence PRO, were allegedly taking the consignment to Myanmar through Moreh.

Later the son of a Congress MLA, who was Speaker and Minister several times, was arrested.

On May 9, Lalmin Thanga was arrested on the charge that he was a drug trader. But he told a Thoubal court that he was not involved in the drug business. He has been remanded in police custody for eight days.

The police have seized staggering quantities of drugs sent by air, post offices, courier service and through trucks. However, the owners and traffickers could not be arrested. Joykumar Yumnam, Director-General of Police, said the drugs were being sent to fictitious names.

Prescriptions drugs are being smuggled into Myanmar. It is said that by adding to them some chemicals, a more powerful and addictive drug is being manufactured and sent to the north-east at a premium. The number of drug addicts in the region is cause for worry.