IMPHAL, October 27: The motive behind the killing of driver Maisnam Devaraj was to earn easy money through wrongful means by members of a dangerous racket.
The statement was made by SP Imphal West, K Jayenta during a press conference at the Imphal West Police Station today. The two main accused were produced before media persons and senior police officers of Imphal West District Police present at the conference. Altogether, five persons including four from a family have already been arrested by the police for their alleged roles in the murder while another three co-accused are still at large.
It may be recalled that the body of Devaraj, 30, son of Auto of Khurai Sajor Leikai, who had gone missing since October 14 last, was dug out from a pit on the road side along Imphal-Jiribam highway in Senjang in Senapati district last night after acting on the disclosures made by the killers. The JCB excavator was recovered beforehand from Tupul about yesterday morning six kilometres away from where the body was disposed.
Jayanta recounted that after the disappearance of Devaraj along with the excavator an FIR was filed by his family members and neighbours with the Singjamei Police Station initially as a missing case. According to information in the report, Devaraj had taken the excavator for carrying out an MNREGS job after two unknown persons placed a job order. The mobile phone number given by the hirers at that time was provided to the police and through the phone police found out that it was not a missing case but involved kidnapping and subsequently a regular FIR was registered, he added.
The priorities were to rescue the kidnapped person safely, recover the vehicle and arrest the culprits. With this objective, a team of IWDP led by him swung into action and fresh lead started to emerge on October 23, according to the SP. During the operation in the next 72 hours, all but three accused were arrested from different areas in Imphal East, Imphal West and Tamenglong districts, he added.
The arrested persons have been identified as the two main accused Namoijam Chalamba alias Rakhesh, 25, son of N Gojen of Ningombam Makha Leikai and Thongbram Babu alias Shyamchand, 27, son of T Biren Singh of Thanga Khunjao and at present staying at Langol Lai Manai, and co-accused were Chalamba’s father Namoijam Gojen, 50, his brother N Jimikanta, 20, and his wife Namoijam ongbi Tombi alias Jiteswori, 24.
SP Jayenta said after getting specific and strong information about the presence of one of the main accused and the JCB in Tupul, a large team of Imphal west police rushed to the area yesterday morning and found him in a quarry along the highway. There the police was able to locate the JCB.
During the interrogation conducted last evening, it was revealed that Chalamba and Shyamchand had hired the excavator and killed Devaraj latter in the evening on the same day by hitting him on the head with a log. The body was disposed off at Senjang after digging a pit with the excavator.
Police found the body in a highly decomposed state buried at a depth of 3.5 feet and wrapped in a polythene sheet at the spot mentioned by Chalamba. The body had been deposited at RIMS mortuary for post mortem examination late in the night.
It came to light during the interrogation that the accused have no personal enmity and the real motive was to make money after stealing the JCB, he stated.
He described the persons as ‘notorious, incorrigible, cold-blooded gang involve in various cases of hijacking of vehicles and the cases of murder.’
The five were reportedly involved in the hijacking of a Bolero, registration number MN07-4032, from the front gate of Manipur University, Canchipur, hijacking of JCB from Nagaland that was later recovered from the possession of Thounajam Ahongjao of Elang Kangpokpi who is the brother-in-law of Chalamba on September 17, hijacking of a Bolero belonging to Dr AD Singh from PG Oil Pump, Chingmeirong on July 29, 2013 that was recovered on October 11, 2013, hijacking of Verna SX bearing registration number MN01S-2339 belonging to Professor Khangjarakpam Soken on August 5, 2013 from near Oriental College and recovered on the same day from the jungle area of Keithelmanbi and the murder of a women identified L Memchoubi devi alias Mema, 48, wife of L Nilabir of Haobam Marak Keisham Leikai at Langol Hill from Games Village to Lamshang approach road on November 29, 2011.