Govt to contact Interpol to nab drug lord Lhukhosei
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 26 2019: The Government would contact Interpol through CBI to search and nab drug lord Lhukhosei Zou who has disappeared after being released from judicial custody on bail.

This was stated by Chief Minister N Biren on the floor of the House today in response to a call attention motion raised by MLA K Meghachandra regarding the recent seizures of huge quantities of contraband drugs and busting of illegal drug manufacturing units.

Biren said that the Government is deeply concerned with the disappearance of Lhukhosei Zou who was released on bail on health ground.

Citing intelligence reports, the Chief Minister stated that Lhukhosei Zou might be in Myanmar.

Notably, Chandel ADC Chairman Lhukhosei alias Sesei Zou, then a member of BJP, was arrested by NAB from his Lamphel quarters in the night of June 19, 2018.Heroin (No 4) and WY tablets worth around Rs 27 crore, Rs 57.18 lakh in cash and some weapons were seized from his quarters and from the possession of his seven associates.

He was given bail on health ground by the NDPS Special Court on December 19 last year.

Even though he was supposed to appear before the same Court on January 8 this year, he disappeared without any trace.

Noting that huge quantities of contraband drugs are being seized very regularly these days, Biren said it appears Manipur is being used as a transit route for smuggling drugs in view of its proximity with Myanmar and the Golden Triangle.

It is said that the consignment of drugs worth Rs 400 crore which was seized a few days back was supposed to be taken to Bangladesh.

There is a report that drugs are peddled inside school buses and this is a very disturbing trend, Biren remarked.

After identifying some schools, police and NAB have taken necessary measures to nab the drug peddlers with the help of public, the Chief Minister told the House.

Police, army and paramilitary forces have been working hard to check smuggling of drugs and a strict vigil has been mounted on the Indo-Myanmar border gate, Biren said.

In the meantime, the State Government would consult legal experts on strengthening laws and Acts related to drugs.

The Government alone cannot control the menace of drug.

Police and other law enforcing agencies were able to seize huge quantities of contraband drugs recently on account of the support provided by local clubs, Meira Paibis and CSOs.

The Government would consider about honouring them at an appropriate platform after adopting a Cabinet decision, Biren said.

Raising the call attention motion, Meghachandra said that huge quantities of drugs have been seized in the State since 2017 including the latest one worth Rs 400 crore which is the biggest ever drug haul in the entire North East region.

He also mentioned about the detection and busting of illegal drug manufacturing units at Lilong and Moijing.

The situation is so disturbing because the outside world has started identifying Manipur with drugs although the State was earlier identified by its rich cultural heritage and excellence in games and sports, Meghachandra lamented.

He also expressed strong suspicion of a big conspiracy behind the disappearance of Lhukhosei Zou.

There was an instance of recovering WY tablets from the IO who was handling Lhukhosei's case, Meghachandra said.

In the meantime, a report was published in a newspaper about the one Senior Advocate and a police officer approaching the NDPS Special Judge to return the charge-sheet filed against Lhukhosei, he said.

He went on to ask if any action has been initiated against the particular IO.

The MLA then urged the Government to hand over all major drug seizure cases which took place since 2017 to the CBI.

Noting the Chief Minister's statement that Interpol would be notified through CBI to search and nab Lhukhosei Zou, Opposition leader O Ibobi said that the same statement does not speak anything about the investigation part and awarding of penalty.

During the Congress Government, a huge consignment of drug was seized at Pallel from a group of smugglers which included an army Colonel.

Even as the army authority approached the State Government not to hand over the case to CBI, the State Government did not listen to them and handed over the case to CBI, Ibobi asserted.

Likewise, the case of seizure of another consignment of drug from Imphal airport was also handed over to CBI, Ibobi added.

If the case of Lhukhosei Zou had been handed over to CBI, he might not have been released on bail, Ibobi rued while adding that his observation did not mean to undermine the State Police.

Ibobi further opined that it would be most appropriate to hand over all such high-profile drug seizure cases involving police officers, army officers and politicians to the CBI.

If the arrested drug smugglers are released, it is unlikely that they would stop smuggling drugs.

As such, the Government needs to deal with the issue of drugs with a strong hand, Ibobi added.

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