Illegal Arms & ammo found stored inside Army barrack of M-Sector
High Court issues notice to state government
IMPHAL | Apr 13
A huge amount of illegal arms and ammunitions is being kept at the Army Detachment at M-Sector, Kanglapat, Imphal West. Lt.col Dharamvir Singh has filed petition before the High Court of Manipur seeking direction to the State Government for registration of the FIR and to conduct court monitored thorough investigation by SIT to investigate into the incident and prosecute the offending persons.
Lt. Col. Dharamvir Singh filed the petition on the basis of the letter dated 2nd July, 2018 written by Lt. Col.R.P. Nanda who was Officer-in-Command then to Commanding Officer Col. Ranjan Singh stating that Dharamvir was found in possession of a large number of illegal & unaccounted arms and ammunitions which were being kept at the Army Detachment at M-Sector Imphal since 2016. The letter also alleged that a cadre named Japan of the UNLF (United Liberation Liberation Front) and a civilian named Naoba were also staying in the barrack of the detachment for 6 months.
Dharamvir challenged in court that a conspiracy has been hatched against him by first arresting him on 1st July, 2018 at 6 am from the M-Sector, Imphal where he was serving as officer commanding and then without proper handing or taking over of the detachment, he was taken to Dimapur. And further that it is on the very same day, and in his absence, that a huge amount of illegal arms and ammunitions were recovered from the M-Sector detachment. He urged to the Court that recovery of illegal arms and ammunition constitutes a cognizable criminal offence under the Arms Act and Indian Penal Code. He asks even after the passing of eight months of alleged recovery of arms and ammunitions from the M-Sector, why the State government has not registered a First Information Report (FIR).
Shreeji Bhavsar, Advocate of Supreme Court appearing for Lt. Col. Dharamvir argued that, as per the Arms Act, in case of recovery of any illegal arms and ammunitions, it is mandatory to give the information to the Officer-in-Charge of the nearest police station or to the magistrate having jurisdiction and that the recovered illegal arms should also be delivered without any delay to the nearest police station but in contravention of the same, even after passing of nearly nine months of the alleged recovery; no such information has ever been given to the concerned police station or to the magistrate having jurisdiction. Not only this, till date, there has been no arrests in this regard, which creates high doubt and suspicion.
He had argued further, that it is important to investigate from where and whom the alleged illegal arms and ammunitions came to the M-Sector army detachment? Who are the persons involved in bringing the said illegal arms? What is the motive behind depositing illegal arms and ammunitions for two years inside the barracks? Whether it is a part of larger conspiracy? Whether these illegal arms and ammunitions have ever been used in commission of any crime including extra judicial killings?
Shreeji said that, the total area of the detachment is approximately 22,000 square feet only and at any point of time, there are at least 2-3 officers and 15-20 jawans posted at the said detachment and it is quite impossible for any individual officer or jawan to store a huge amount of illegal arms and ammunitions secretly inside the barrack of the M-sector detachment for 2 years without getting noticed by others! And therefore it must be investigated that how many personnel posted at said detachment were having knowledge about the presence of illegal arms and ammunitions being kept in the detachment and why they had not informed the higher authorities about the matter? In case, it was informed to the higher authorities and they did not take any action , that should also be investigated?
He maintained that it is in public knowledge that, there was an intelligence report before the Pulwama incident that the CRPF was going to be targeted. The Central and State government had failed to act in time and ignored the intelligence report, for which the nation paid the cost by losing precious lives of 45 CRPF Jawans. Here, the alleged illegal arms and ammunitions have been recovered from inside the barrack of the Army Detachment at M-Sector Imphal, which is in the heart of the city, where the Governor’s bungalow is having a common wall, the legislative assembly is just aprroximately 500 metres distance, Paona Bazar is just 200 metres distance and at any point of time, there are thousands of people present at Ima market. The counsel said, “God forbid, if any Uri or Pulwama like incident happens tomorrow and lives of innocent civilians or armed forces personnel’s are lost and if such incident is later connected with the recovery of illegal arms and ammunitions from an Army detachment. If such a case arises, whether the State Government will take the accountability?” and therefore, the State Government cannot shift its liability and cannot ignore the recovery of a huge amount of illegal arms and ammunitions from its jurisdiction. “It cannot be washed aside with the reply that it is an internal matter of the Army! It is a very serious matter, concerning the safety and security of the people of Manipur and State government is accountable for the people of the state and therefore as per the mandatory provision of Arms Act registration of the FIR by State Government is compulsory,” Shreeji mentioned.
He further argued that, in recent past the Special Investigation Team (CBI) constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate 41 cases of extra judicial killings in Manipur has filed charge sheet in eight cases confirming that the said encounters were extra judicial killings by armed forces and illegal arms and ammunitions were planted upon the deceased victims and therefore the possibility of the use of these illegal arms and ammunitions for commission of extra judicial killings or it’s use to frame innocent civilians under false cases, cannot be ruled out completely and therefore the incident requires registration of an FIR and court monitored through investigation by SIT.
It may be mentioned that, in July 2018 during the hearing of Habeas Corpus petition, whistle blower Lt. Col. Dharamvir had filed an affidavit before the High Court and exposed that how some rogue army personnel perpetrated the fake encounter of several individuals including PLA leader Gypsy, who were killed in cold blood in a military camp at Dimapur and in the jungles of Assam.
In petition filed by Lt. Col. Dharamvir Singh seeking direction to the State Government to register an FIR for the alleged recovery of a huge amount of illegal arms and ammunitions from Army Detachment at M-Sector, Imphal the High Court of Manipur on 3rd April, 2019 issued a Notice to the State Government and kept the matter for hearing on 13th May, 2019 to decide on the maintainability of the petition.
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