The Special Judge of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on Monday released on bail the two individuals who are under judicial custody in relation to the death of Athuan Abonmai. The former president of Zeliangrong Boudi was reportedly kidnapped and murdered on September 22 in Tamenglong.
Although the alleged offences are heinous, there is no likelihood of the accused absconding or influencing prosecution witnesses, the Court opined and stated that the NIA has failed to provide convincing prima facie material for further detention of the accused in judicial custody.
The two were released on bail with their execution of PR Bond one lakh with one like surety.
The bail order was reserved till December 21 after hearing the bail application filed by Ponthanlung Panmei alias Paul (47), son of Langai Panmei of Konthoujam Maning Tribal Colony and Lanchapou Bosco Gonmei (48), son of (L) Gaikhangsingpou Gonmei of Langol Laimanai.
The court heard the submission of the accused's counsels and Special PP of NIA who submitted the case diary of (L) Athuan Abonmei murder case. Ponthanlung Panmei and Lanchapou Bosco Gonmei were arrested by a team of Imphal West commando a few days after the murder of Athuan Abonmei.
The NIA is investigating the case as per an order from the Home Affairs Ministry.
The court stated that it is an undeniable fact by both parties that the case is still at an early stage of the investigation. However, at the stage, the Investigating Agency could not present any material showing the link of the present accused with the kidnapping or murder of the Athuan Abonmei, which is the basis on which RC-25/2021/NIA- DLI was registered as well as the basis on which section 302 IPC and section 16, 17 & 20 of the UA (P) Act, amongst others, were invoked. Further, statements of witnesses recorded under section 161 CrPC revealed no link of the present accused with the alleged incident.
Furthermore, though the accused admitted transferring a sum of Rs 70,000 to an organization, Naga National Council (NNC), Zeliangrong regions, the NIA, at this stage of the investigation, has not established any relationship between the transfer of the said amount and the kidnapping and murder of (L) Athuan Abonmei. Further, for the accused Pouthanlung Panmei, statements of witnesses recorded U/s 161 CrPC, reveal no link of the present accused with the alleged incident.
The court released them with some conditions that they should present themselves before the Investigating Agency as and when required before the court on every date fixed. The Court also said that the accused should not influence any prosecution witness so as to dissuade the witness from disclosing facts before the NIA or to the court. The accused should not leave the state without prior permission from the court, the condition stated.