House heats up on drug issue
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, March 07 2013: The mounting menace of drug trafficking in Manipur attracted serious discussion in the State Assembly today with Opposition MLAs Dr I Ibohalbi and L Ibomcha giving a tough time to Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam, who is also in charge of Home, to give answers to a series of questions raised.

Moving a calling attention motion on the issue of increasing drug traffickings in Manipur on the second day of the ongoing three-day long Budget session of the State Assembly today, Dr I Ibohalbi and L Ibomcha demanded to know why three different cases have been registered with regard to the recent Pallel drug seizure and pointed out that as per the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, it is quantity of drug seized that would determine the quantum of offences and the punishments to be given.

They also questioned why the service of CBI has been roped in to investigate into the Pallel drug haul despite knowing that the investigation process of CBI is normally very slow.

In a surprise move, MLA Ibomcha also announced in the House that he would pay an incentive reward of Rs 50, 000 from his own salary to the police team involved in seizure of a huge consignment of drugs from PRO (Defence Wing) Colonel Ajay Chowdhry and five others at Pallel.

Responding to the call attention motion, Home Minister Gaikhangam, who appeared to have been cornered from all sides, reiterated that the State Government is very serious about the issue of illicit drug trafficking and anyone involved in the recent drug rackets would not be let scot-free, but stringent action would be taken against them as per the law of the land.

Maintaining that drug is a common enemy of the people in the State, Gaikhangam observed that a bullet that comes out from the barrel of a gun may kill an individual, however, the menace of drugs is sure to erase the whole generation.

So, the time has arrived for all of us to come together and fight against drugs.

He asserted that since the State Government has succeeded in arresting certain drugs dealers, the time would not be far when all those persons involved in this illegal trade would be put to justice.

The recent series of drug hauls by Manipur police was only a beginning, Gaikhangam said, while informing the House that three different FIRs have been registered in connection with the recent Pallel haul and the State Cabinet has decided to hand over the case to the CBI for probe.

Countering the Home Minister, Dr Ibohanbi asked why three different cases have been registered with regard to the Pallel drug seizure and pointed out that as per the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, it is the quantity of drug seizure that would determine the quantum of offences and the punishments to be given.

But Gaikhangam only maintained that the Pallel drug seizure involved three vehicles and this may be the reason for taking up three different cases.

Dr Ibohalbi further demanded to know whether CBI has agreed to take up the case, and if so, whether the arrested accused would be kept in the custody of the State Police or hand them over to the CBI.

Furthermore, Dr Ibohalbi asked why the state Government has sanctioned NCB to take part in the investigation of the drug haul case.

To this, Gaikhangam clarified that even if the case is handed to CBI, the accused would remain in the custody of the State police.

He went on to say that handing over of the case to CBI is not the end of the issue.

The State forces will not remain silent and will continue its drive against drugs in the State.

A number of drug dealers would be surely apprehended gradually and none of them would be let scot-free.

At this point, MLA Ibomcha pointed out that CBI is normally too slow in investigating cases and urged that the state Home Minister, DGP and Chief Secretary to pass on the progress report of the case to the public on monthly basis.

The MLA also announced that he would pay an incentive amount of Rs 50, 000 from his own salary to the police team who seized a large quantity of illicit drugs at Pallel.

He also suggested that the successful police team should be given not just incentive award but also double promotion.

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