Twenty years after the incident took place, the Session Judge, Imphal East on Tuesday convicted the two accused who had kidnapped and subsequently murdered Lungnila Elizabeth in November of 2003.
Eight-year-old Lungnila, daughter of former Power Minister Francis Ngajokpa, was kidnapped from outside her school. A week later, despite the ransom demand being met, her body was found from the outskirts of Imphal.
The accused, N Rome Meitei and Letkhosei Haokip @ James Kuki, were convicted under section 120-B IPC, section 364-IPC and section 302 IPC.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed chargesheets against four accused namely Thokchom Nando Singh (25) of Khangabok Part-III, Ningombam Rome Meitei (35) of Bashikhong, Okram Deben (28) of Langthabal and the prime accused Letkhosei Haokip alias James Kuki (34).
The main accused of the Lungnila Elizabeth murder case, Thokchom Nando Singh alias KCP Nando was killed by an underground outfit on March 3, 2021.
On Tuesday, Letkhosei Haokip was produced from judicial custody and N Rome Meitei was present with his counsel.
After hearing the submission from counsels and perusal of the materials on record, the court opined that the evidence inspired confidence of the court that the accused, in conspiracy with co-accused persons, kidnapped the child on Nov 4, 2003, took ransom and murdered her on November 12, 2003.
However, the court also stated that no evidence of rape committed by the accused is found. The prosecution could bring home the charges under section 120-B IPC, section 364-A IPC and section 302 IPC home.
Therefore, the accused, Ningombam Rome Meitei @ Romen @ Micheal @ Ramesh @ Loyalakpa, was on bail but his bail was cancelled and remanded into judicial custody till March 13, 2023. Moreover, Letkhosei Haokip has also been remanded to further judicial custody till March 13, 2023.
The court convicted them and directed the CBI to produce them on March 13, 2023 for sentence hearing.