Gold robbery case may be probe by CBI

Aizawl, 25 May (TNN): Aizawl: The Mizoram government is contemplating handing over the case of the dacoity of 52 smuggled gold bars worth Rs 14.5 crore to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as an Army Colonel on deputation to the Assam Rifles and eight personnel of the 39th Assam Rifles were the main accused in the armed highway robbery case.

The dacoity was allegedly committed by Assam Rifles jawans on December 14, 2015 night near Aizawl where they took the gold bars at gun point and handed over the 'booty' to their Commandant Col Jasjit Singh on the next morning at the latter's official residence near the All India Radio Aizawl station.

The jawans reportedly told members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Mizoram Police investigating the case that they were handsomely rewarded and richly complimented by the Commandant.

State chief minister Lal Thanhawla and home minister R Lalzirliana had hinted that the government might hand over the case to the CBI.

Lalzirliana told reporters that Col Singh continued to stick to his guns and denied involvement in the highway robbery even after being interrogated extensively while in police custody for 13 days. He is now remanded in judicial custody and incarcerated at the Central Jail in Tanhril near Aizawl.

Singh continued to assert that he was away when the dacoity was committed and his jawans were sent to intercept an arms consignment reported to have been sent from Myanmar.
"Our police officials have been doing a great job by arresting people involved in the case, but if they fail to recover the gold bars, the police may not have required evidence," the home minister said, adding that the case might need investigation by the CBI.

Altogether, 13 people have been arrested for alleged involvement in the case including four civilians since April 23.
Lalmuanawma Mathipi, former student leader reportedly used as a transporter of 'mule' by gold smugglers, and Bulaki Chand Baid, a non-tribal businessman, were among the civilians arrested. The 2 other civilian accused were close associates of Mathipi.

Another accused CS Thanga was never remanded in police custody as the Aizawl District and Sessions Judge Lucy Lalrinthari permitted his anticipatory bail plea as he was 'fully cooperating' with the police.

Police said that Thanga might become an approver for the prosecution and had informed the SIT that he was acting as a go-between, connecting Mathipi and Baid with Col Singh.

He reportedly revealed to the investigators that the plot was hatched between Mathipi, Baid and Col Singh to waylay the smuggled gold bars as Mathipi wanted to take revenge on Hmingi, known to be the handler of the smuggled gold in Aizawl.
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