A Colonel of the Indian Army and an Assistant Manager of a private airline are among six persons apprehended by Thoubal district police commandos for their alleged involvement in smuggling of psychotropic drugs worth nearly Rs 30 crores.
The army officer has been identified as Public Relations Officer of Public Information Bureau, Defence Wing (PRO/DW) Col Ajay Chowdhury and the Assistant Manager (Indigo Airlines/Security Staff) as one Ngairangbam Brojendro (40) s/o (L) Gyaneshor of Kakwa Khongnang Pheidekpi.
The six, including the Colonel are in the custody of Kakching police and three cases have been filed against them. They will be produced before the Court of the Thoubal CJM tomorrow.
The drugs having high composition of Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride were reportedly seized at near Pallel police check point from three vehicles, including a white-coloured Bolero Jeep (MN04A/8390) occupied by the army Colonel and the Assistant Manager.
The drugs were to be smuggled to neighbouring Myanmar, a Manipur Police official said.
Col. Ajay Choudhury of Red Shield Division was arrested along with five other people from Pallel town in Thoubal district after a hot chase, district police chief Jhaljit Singh said.
Police claimed that the army officer earlier smuggled banned drugs from capital Imphal to Moreh town on Myanmar border five times.
The other five accused are Col. Choudhury’s assistant R.K. Babblu, a private airlines’ assistant manager Ngairakpam Brojendro, Haopu Haokip, Minthang Bongel and Milan Haokip, the police officer said.
“They were carrying pseudoephedrine tablets of different brands in three vehicles to Moreh to smuggle these to Myanmar,” Jhaljit Singh said.
The police chief said they received a tip-off about the movement on Saturday. But when a police team tried to stop the vehicles in Khongjom, they drove away without stopping. They were caught after a chase.
The accused, including the army officials, have been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
“If found guilty, strict action will be taken against him Col. Choudhury,” Indian Army spokesperson Col. Jagdeep Dahiya said.
Pseudoephedrine tablets are also called party drugs as these induce great energy when taken as pills, injected, inhaled or smoked. These kind of drugs are particularly attractive to teenagers world over.
“The drug has been used as a precursor to the manufacturing of speed pills such as amphetamine and metamphetamine in Myanmar,” a customs official said.