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Manipur 2022: Release of Heirok murder accused on bail before election irks Jairam Ramesh

Late Ningthoujam Rohit was killed in Heirok pre-poll violence

“Some of the murder accused, including brother of sitting BJP MLA in Heirok have been released before polls coinciding with Union Home Minister’s visit,” he tweeted.

TFM Desk

Former union minister and congress observer for Manipur Jairam Ramesh has expressed surprise at the release of accused in Heirok murder case on bail despite Congress’ February 16 memorandum requesting the Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur to issue necessary direction to extend judicial custody of all accused till the end of election.

“Our memorandum to @CeoManipur on 16.2.22 requested extension of judicial custody of all accused till the end of elections. Instead, some of the murder accused, including brother of sitting BJP MLA in Heirok have been released before polls coinciding with Union Home Minister’s visit!” tweeted Jairam Ramesh.

Thoubal Sessions Judge Binny Ngangom had on March 1 granted bail to all the six accused persons — Thokchom Henrik @ Naobi Singh, 27, Laishram Biken Singh, 24, Ningthoujam Panan Singh, 33, Khundongbam Nicky @ Anju Singh, 34, Thokchom Sanathoi @ Lai Singh, 33 and Thokchom Putro @ Bisworjit Singh, 33 — in the Ningthoujam Rohit murder case. Thokchom Putro is younger brother of sitting MLA of Heirok Assembly constituency Thokchom Radheshyam Singh who is seeking re-election on BJP ticket in the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly elections.

Rohit was shot dead allegedly by a group of persons numbering about 15/16 from his locality Heirok on the intervening night of December 22, 2021 at his home. Rohit’s father also sustained gunshot injury in the attack.

Following the death of Rohit, his brother Ningthoujam Roshan Singh reported to the police that some 15/16 individuals led by the six accused persons entered into the premises of his house by breaking back yard fencing and started beating his father and younger brother without any specific reasons.

He accused Thokchom Putro Singh of firing upon his father and younger brother by using a firearm/weapon that seems to be a single barrel rifle mercilessly. They immediately left the place and as a result of which his father sustained serious injury on his person and his younger brother succumbed to his injury, he said.

Objecting to the bail application, the IO of the case told the court that the accused are not co-operating in the police investigation. If the accused are released on bail, it is ascertained that there would be hue and cry and it would create law and order problems in the area, said the IO praying for rejecting the bail applications filed by the accused persons.

Addl. PP for the State had also submitted that if the accused are released on bail, there will be violence in Heirok as the victim died due to the political rivalry of the forthcoming Assembly election.

However, granting the bail, the district sessions judge said, “The weapon of offense has not been recovered till date i.e., even after more than sixty days. There is no material before me to show that the accused are likely to hamper the investigation nor they are likely to abscond, if released on bail.”

Taking note of the protest in court premises against the bail application, the session judge alleged that the complainant’s side is extensively using the civil organisations to tilt the case in their favour while bail applications are pending before the court.

He said, “Some of the opinions expressed in public domain do not restrict to the condemnation/remorse of the alleged act, but the same try to assert/ influence the court’s verdict. Violent protests including wrongful confinement have been committed by the complainant’s side even inside the Court’s complex demanding verdict in their favour.”

“This is an unfortunate development happening in most of the cases and a threat to the rule of law. It is pointed out that the court’s verdict depends on the materials submitted before it and it is not at all influenced by the various opinions floated in public domain and if unsatisfied, there’s always an option to approach higher Courts,” he added.

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