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Fake encounter: court postpones trial

IMPHAL: Imphal session judge Manoj Kumar has deferred the hearing of July 23, 2009 Khwairamband Bazar fake encounter case till February 20 following a petition filed by eight other accused urging the court to conduct hearing of the case in the presence of prime accused Manipur Police head constable Th Herojit, who has failed to appear before the court on Tuesday.

Apart from Herojit, all the eight other security personnel who have been facing trial appeared before the court on Tuesday.

Defence counsel of eight accused Lakhikanta moved the petition in the court arguing that the hearing of the case should be conducted in the presence of head constable Th Herojit Singh as he had made a very startling revelation before certain media group that he had gunned down the victim Chungkham Sanjit Meitei in a fake encounter.

On the basis of the petition judge deferred the hearing of the case till February 20. 

However, CBI counsel and senior lawyer P Ibomcha said that head constable Herojit is still an accused of the case and as long as the court passes its final verdict, it would not be appropriate to take up action against him.

The CBI which was entrusted into probe the sensational case, has charge-sheeted nine policemen under Section 34, 302, 218, 203 of IPC and also under substantive offences in connection with a case registered in the Imphal City Police on September 10, 2010. 

In the charge-sheet, CBI has said that constable Th Herojit shot dead Chungkham Sanjit following an order from inspector Debendra, the then OC of the Bazar Unit of Imphal West district Commandos. 

Herojit had contradicted in his recent confession in which he alleged he got the order to kill the former insurgent leader from then additional SP AK Jhalajit Singh who has been promoted and posting as Imphal West SP.

The charge-sheet stated that Sanjit was dragged inside the ‘Star Room’ of Social Time Emporium at BT Road by Debendro, Herojit, Toyaima, Bioykumar, Jagat, Md Imran Khan, Kishore and Makon Kanchung Chothe with the intention of killing him as ordered by Debendra.

But, while deposing before the CBI, Herojit had said that Sanjit was killed in an encounter that ensued at the place.

The incident has triggered off a major controversy and large scale protests, even leading to the closure of schools in Manipur for about four months.  It was on the basis of a writ petition filed by Chunkham Taratombi Devi, mother of the deceased that the Gauhati High Court directed the CBI to carry out an investigation.

Meanwhile, an official of deputy inspector general of CBI based in Guwahati has arrived in Imphal today to take the stock of the situation in the aftermath of recent confession of head constable Herojit.

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