IMPHAL, July 8: The charge hearing in the multi crore drug haul case at Tulihal airport in the year 2013 has begun today at the Special Court of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (ND&PS) at Lamphel.
The hearing which commenced at around 11.30 am concluded at 4 pm and later adjourned till July 30 for further argument and hearing on charges.
During the hearing, the Public Prosecutor of CBI, senior advocate Ibomcha, submitted a summary of the charge sheet filed by the agency against the accused in the case.
Okram Henry is the nephew of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh who had become the centre of focus of the sensational drug haul case.
The CBI charges that during investigation that a witness who is a member of the Special Intelligence Unit (SIU), who had gone to Imphal Airpot on Junary 11, 2013 had received one phone call from Henry Singh at the aairport informing the SIU member that the drugs which was being seized by SIU was his and asked them (SIU) to leave the drugs alone.
The information about the phone call was reportedly confirmed by the witness in the statement recorded under section 164 CrPC before the Magistrate, it said adding that another witness and a member of the SIU team on the same day confirmed that the first witness had received a phone call on that day and after speaking over the phone, the said witness told him that he had received the call from Henry Singh who was asking them not to seize the tablets.
It further revealed that a second witness also confirmed the same in his statement recorded under section 164 CrPC before the Magistrate.
At the same time, another witness who was the in charge of SIU and was then leading the unit operation at Imphal Airport stated that he had also then received a phone call from Henry Singh but he did not receive the phone call the same day.
The last witness reportedly reiterated the same in his statement recorded under section 164 CrPC before the magistrate.
Immediately after the drug seizure, the SIU was abolished and all the officers and men attached to the unit were posted to their previous postings.
In response to the charges, the defence counsel of Okram Henry strongly reacted on the failure of the CBI to the make a mention of the phone number from which Okram Henry allegedly made the call to the SIU team at the airport during the time of the seizure of the drugs.
The defence counsel further challenged the authenticity of the phone number, based on which his client was linked to the drugs seizure case, claimed that it was not sufficient evidence enough to frame charges against Okram Henry.
It further requested the CBI through the court to provide with the phone number from which Okram Henry allegedly made a call to the SIU member.
After hearing both the counsels, the Court asked both sides to submit written arguments.
The Court also asked the Investigation Officer (IO) of CBI to submit the case diary with regards to the case on the next date without fail.
All the accused against whom the CBI had charge sheeted physically appeared today before the Court except for accused number 4 Sapam Angus alias Nanao alias Naoba who was granted dispensation on health ground.
Rajneesh Kumar, has been listed as the accused number 1 in the CBI list followed by Ramveer Tyagi, accused number 2, Okram Henry Singh alias Henry accused number 3 and Md Rajaudding as accused number 5.