Arrested editor released on bail, media to resume work

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The editor of Sanaleibak Daily, Ahongsangbam Mobi (middle) waving to waiting journalist colleagues after being released on bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal. 2011-01-06 | by : IFP Photo
The editor of Sanaleibak Daily, Ahongsangbam Mobi (middle) waving to waiting journalist colleagues after being released on bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal. 2011-01-06 | by : IFP Photo
IMPHAL, Jan 5: The editor of Sanaleibak Daily, Ahongsangbam Mobi who was arrested by Manipur Police Commandos on December 29 on charges of being an extortionist of KCP (Tabungba Group) has been released on bail today by the CJM Salam Imocha with a surety bond of Rs 50,000.after he was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Imphal.
With his release, the media in Manipur has decided to resume work so that newspapers can hit the stands from tomorrow.
Ahongsangbam Mobi, who is also the vice-president cum spokesperson of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU), was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Imphal after he was brought to the Cheirap Court Complex today at 2:50 pm by the concerned IO of the case SDPO, Modhunimai of Imphal West Police.
It may be mentioned that the editor of Sanaleibak, A. Mobi Singh  was arrested by a team of Imphal West District Police commandos in civil dress on December 29 morning from near by Tiddim Oil Service Station, under section 17 and 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and filed a case under FIR No. 575 (12) 10 IPS.
Speaking to media persons at the Court complex, Mobi stated that he was mentally harassed by the police though not physically. He was also not given any food today before he was brought to the CJM Court in the afternoon.
The counsels of both the prosecutor and accused placed their heated arguments before the CJM.
The counsel of the prosecutor stated that the accused Mobi was arrested by Manipur Police Commandos on getting specific information that a sum of Rs 50,000 extorted by KCP (Tabungba Group) from one gas agency has been delivered to him near Tiddim Service Station. A sum of Rs 50,000, two mobile phones and one NV scooter without registration number were recovered from his possession.
The investigative officer of the case further added that the call records of the accused Mobi revealed that he had earlier contacted with the KCP and it was evident from such records that he was very much involved in the extortion case.
On the other hand, the counsel of accused Mobi argued that if he was caught red-handed, then why could not the police reveal the persons who had delivered the money to him. The call records cannot simply establish the relation of a person with an outlawed. It is quite obvious for a journalist to maintain contacts with so many people regardless of being outlawed or not in order to give good reports to the public.
The counsel of the accused Mobi also submitted a medical report stating that he is a diabetic patient and he is also suffering from hypertension. Further police remand will deteriorate his health condition, the counsel added.
The accused Mobi told before the CJM that the charges of the police were baseless. He was simply asked to collect a sum of Rs 50,000 from one KCP group with whom some representatives of AMWJU are planning to have a meeting at New Delhi regarding threats and intimidations served to the working journalists of the state in connection with the publication of their press releases.
He admitted that it was unlawful from the purview of the law of the country but for the sake of ensuring free press in the state he as a senior executive of AMWJU had decided to meet the outlawed KCP when the government as well as the police cannot do anything regarding the matter.
Mobi further said that he will fight for justice in the law court and he is confident that he will be able to prove his innocence.
After hearing the arguments from both the counsels, the CJM granted bail to Mobi with a surety bond of Rs 50,000 along with a directive that he should report to the investigative officer every Sunday.
It may be mentioned that the editor of Sanaleibak Daily, A. Mobi who allegedly came to deliver money for the KCP was arrested on December 29 by Manipur Police Commandos.
The working journalists of the state under the aegis of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) had launched cease work from December 29 till January 4 demanding the unconditional release of A. Mobi. The AMWJU has also decided to boycott coverage of functions attended by ministers, ruling MLAs as well as those highlighting the achievements of Manipur Police.
The journalists also held sit-in-protest demonstration at Keishampat Junction near Lairembi Lampak on January 1 and 3 and carried out rallies on December 29 and January 4 demanding the unconditional release of A. Mobi.
The AMWJU has also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister urging him to redress the grievances of the working journalists of the state and release the editor A. Mobi unconditionally.
The representatives of AMWJU had also met the Chief Minister and Governor urging them to look into the case and release the editor of Sanaleibak unconditionally.
Meanwhile, the National Federation of Newspapers Employees has extended moral support to the agitating journalists of Manipur, who have been demanding an unconditional release of an editor of a local daily.
A release of the federation said that the media persons of the state under the banner of All Manipur Working Journalists Union pushed the authority for the release of Ahongsangbam Mobi Singh, editor of Sanaleibak, who was arrested by the police on December 27 for an alleged link with the militants.
Claiming that the charges against the editor are baseless, the Manipur journalists have taken the path of agitation on December 29 and since then no newspapers have been published. Even a local cable television network Information Service Television also stopped airing news since then, it said.
Mobi Singh, who is the vice-president of AMWJU, was produced before an Imphal court same day and he was remanded to police custody till January 5.
NFNE secretary Nava Thakuria has also urged the O. Ibobi Singh government at Imphal to take appropriate actions such that the journalists of the state can function with their wisdom and no way with any fear and dismay, the release added.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), Manipur State Committee, also strongly condemned the arrest of the editor of Sanaleibak Daily, A. Mobi by Manipur Police Commandos on false charges of having links with the outlawed KCP.
 

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