Senior Army officer among six arrested with drugs worth Rs 15 crore


Manipur,IMPHAL, February 24: A team of Thoubal district police attached with the  Pallel police station in Chandel district have detained Col Ajay Choudhury, an Army Colonel who is the PRO of the Defence Wing stationed at M-Sector in Imphal along with five others for transporting a huge amount of banned drugs worth Rs15 crores to Myanmar.

The team was heading towards the border town of Moreh in two Bolero jeeps and one Tata Safari.

The Bolero jeep with Col Ajay Choudhury  had a flag-post and was leading two other vehicles.

According to police source the incident happen when CID personnel tried to stop three vehicles coming from Imphal toward Moreh led by a white Bolero with beacon light and a PRO Imphal nameplate on bonet at Pallel Police station.

State police team alongwith seized contraband items and the vehicles including the one with PRO Imphal nameplate.
State police team alongwith seized contraband items and the vehicles including the one with PRO Imphal nameplate.

The vehicle also had a flag post in the front and a registration number plate with “Government of India” written on top the registration number MN04A / 8390 and below the number it was written Ministry of Defence.

The vehicle with the PRO nameplate was followed by another white Bolero bearing registration number  AS01BA / 8699 and a white Tata safari bearing registration number MN02A / 0369 with both the vehicles having a sticker of the ARMY n their windshields in red colour.

When the three vehicles led by the PRO vehicle   reached Pallel police station this morning at around 7 am, they were asked to stop by Pallel police personnel along with one CID personal for  checking the vehicles but the PRO denied  and indentified himself.

He passed through the Pallel police out post and reached till  the commando post at Pallel, which is a few metres from the Pallel police outpost, where the vehicles were again stopped by a team of the state police commandos led by Sub inspector Dhanabir of Thoubal CDO where the PRO also refused to be checked.

A heated argument took place reportedly when the PRO refused to get down from the vehicle, following which the commando personnel took down the defense PRO from the vehicle  and checked the three vehicles to find a huge consignment of banned pseudo-ephedrine tablets that included OMKOF, Respifed, Polyfed, Trep, Actiden and Hilcold tablets.

The commando team arrested the six persons who were in the three vehicles along with the huge consignment and from the first Bolero (MNO4A / 8390 PRO) arrested Colonel Ajay Chowdhary, 49, son of (L) Shashadhar Narayan Chowdhary service number IC -42830X of Bihar infantry posted at M sector Imphal as a Public relation officer (Defence) Ministry of Defence, Government of India along with his companion who is also the Assistant manager of Indigo Airlines in Manipur and an Indigo security staff officer identified as Ngairangbam Brojendro, 40, son of Ng Gyaneshor Singh of Singjamei Khonang Pheidekpi along with three carton boxes, one suit case, six gunny bags and one big carry bag containing tablets inside the vehicle.

From the second Bolero bearing registration number AS01BA / 8699, the  driver has been identified as Haupu Haokip, 28, son of (L) Thangam Haokip of Langol Games Village zone II travelling along with another occupant in the front seat identified as Minthang  Doungel, 29 son of Lunkho Hao Doungel of New Checkon were apprehended with two big size airbags, five carton boxes and one gunny bag containing tablets.

The third vehicle, a white Tata Safari (registration number MN02A / 0369) was driven by Minlin Haokip, 25, son of (L) Otkhokai Haokip of New Checkon near Brighter school and another occupant in the front seat said to be an army personal of 165 Infantry Battalion ( territorial Army)  Sepoy army number 13004752F posted at Assam was apprehended along with eight big size gunny bags, one carton box and five airbags.

Later it was also found that the vehicles used by the PRO defence was bearing double registration number plates: one, with a  fake number above the original number plate bearing MN04A / 6968, with the fake number MN04 / 8390 stuck above.

Later the huge consignment of tablets containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine and all the three vehicles  involved in carrying the huge consignment were displayed to the media person at the Pallel commando complex.

Upon inspection, all the consignment was found out to be marked `PRO Imphal` on top.

According to reliable sources,  PRO Ajay Chowdhary had confessed and revealed that it is not the first time that he had carried drug consignments to the border town of Moreh and that he had already made five to six trips for which he gets Rs 6 lakhs  per trip.

It may be mentioned that the Home minister of the state Gaikhangam had earlier stated that all drug related cases of the state will be handed over to the central bureau of investigation in a press conference held  at the his officer chamber on February 19 after a state cabinet meeting on the same day and passed a resolution to take it up with the  Prime Minister and Union Home Minister to the concerned Civil Aviation Minister to check the drug consignments being brought through flights into the state.

On the other hand, the Home Minister has also stated that the state government has officially requested the Ministry of Home to set a highway force to check the illegal transportation of narcotic substances in the state through the state highways.

Colonel Ajay Chaudhary has been quoted as telling a national news channel that he had no idea what he was carrying in his vehicle since he `thought they were the personnel goods of his travelling colleagues.

Agencies have also quoted the Army spokesperson, Colonel Jagdeep Dahiya as saying, “We would like to state this much that if he is found guilty as per the law of the land; strict disciplinary action will be taken against him,” Dahiya said, adding “We will get involved in the process when we are formally approached.”


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